I’ve had a lot of quiet time the past several days, with a lot of time to think. Using some of that time, I’ve read through the Book of Job. Yes, yes, I was familiar (sort of) with the story…faithful, righteous Job is allowed to be tormented by the devil as long as the devil doesn’t physically harm Job himself. His children meet violent deaths, his animals die too, his friends turn from him, and his riches are lost. All because the devil thinks he can turn Job from God by inflicting pain and loss—much as he still does today with all of us.
But in my re-reading and study of the story’s context, something was revealed that has stuck with me in looking at my own recent trials. It was the realization that God allowed the devil to do this. That’s right. Read Job’s story and you’ll see that the devil had to ask God’s permission to mess with Job, and God allowed that, with a caveat—do not harm Job himself. That alone should give us huge insight into God’s majesty, when even the devil can’t act without consulting Him!
After 40 chapters, when all is said and done, when Job’s friends have tried to convince him that he must have sinned so terribly that God would do this to him, when Job himself falters and decries God’s dismissal of him, when God finally intervenes, His MO is pretty staggering. He puts Job on trial for his wayward faith. He asks Job what he knows of universe-making, creature creation, or the design of natural elements, and how to keep it all going. And He did so in a rush of mighty wind that humbled Job to recognize his maker and repent.
The Old Testament stories are full of such dramatic themes when God chooses to speak to his children. Yet we’re not so different than Job. We can all use some wind, rain, and thunder in our lives to make us pay attention to the wonder and awesome power of the God of creation. But more so to shore up our faith in realizing that if He can do all that–and so much more that we could never understand if given a dozen lifetimes–do we not think He will lead us through our own trials, and that we can come out on the other side? It’s something to think about.