Job has suffered great losses. His initial reaction to his suffering is, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 1:21)
These words have been the basis of many a Christian funeral sermon. They emphasize that our gracious God controls all things.
Despite the fact that Job knows nothing about the conversation between God and Satan, he correctly declares that behind all his troubles lies the hand of the Lord. It is not the natural disasters, the wicked men or even Satan. No, what he is saying is that God simply takes back what has always belonged to him.
The Psalmist has also declared this truth when he wrote, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it” (Psalms 24:1)
As hard as we may feel we working to obtain things, we must always remember that all of our work is just a channel through which God blesses us. And, through which we in turn are to bless others. Human effort does not produce blessings. God does!
There are examples of this everywhere in our lives. We can see how one person may work very hard and becomes wealthy, while another works equally hard, yet amasses no riches. It is not simply better human planning, wisdom and exertion that makes the difference. It is the Lord.
Since everything is God’s he may distribute it as he pleases. We certainly do not complain when he gives us much. Should we then grumble when God takes back what belongs to him?
Or, in Job’s words, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10)
Job seems to have a firm grasp on this idea. However, it is one thing to understand something about suffering, but quite another to endure it. As Job sits upon the ashes a dark question begins to haunt his tormented mind. It is a question that soon will burst into an anguished cry.
We will continue this journey with Job as patience gives way to complaint…