I will always have a lot of respect for Job.
He catches a lot of flak for his behavior toward the end of the book, and it turns out, yeah, when you’re at the lowest point of your life and dealing with three insensitive and unhelpful “friends,” some character defects are going to rise to the top. It’s inevitable. But I think leaving the camera zoomed in on those failures gives us an incomplete picture of who Job was.
To me, the verse that really defines Job’s character is in the very first chapter. A flood of messengers rush in to tell Job the worst possible news:
He’s lost everything.
His possessions are gone. His children are dead. In a single moment, he transitioned from “the greatest of all the people of the East” (Job 1:3) to the most pitiable. So what does he do?
He tears his robe, shaves his head, then falls to the ground and worships:
Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
And naked shall I return there.
The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away;
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Where does a response like that come from?
Not the heat of the moment; I can tell you that. You don’t lose nearly everything you hold dear and then decide to turn around and praise God. It doesn’t work like that.
The decision to praise God in the storms of life comes before the storm, not during. It’s something we chose to do before things get bad—a choice we make in advance when we understand who God is and what He means to us.
Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah made the choice to obey God at all costs long before Nebuchadnezzar was threatening to throw them into the fire. Peter and the other disciples knew whose opinion of them mattered long before the Sanhedrin tried to browbeat them into submission. Stephen knew what was worth saying long before his life was on the line.
The decision, the attitude, the mindset—it comes first.
Storms will come. They’re inevitable. Inescapable. What we’ll do when the next one hits depends on the decisions we’re making right now, in this moment.
When the winds start picking up, it’s probably too late to change course.
Until next time,