In the past, when I have studied Job, I have focused all my thoughts on Job’s suffering. I have struggled to understand why God would work in such a way, orchestrating the situation the way He does and allowing evil to have its way in Job’s life. I see the equation I talked about in my last post (Appearance +Attitude = Assessment) working itself out again, but this time I see how I have been guilty of using the equation to assess God. In the past, it has looked like this:
Appearance of God because of Job’s suffering + My Attitude About Suffering = Assessment of who God is.
I have had a terrible time with the story of Job because I allowed the appearance of things, alongside my attitude, to create a picture of who God is. Now I realize the picture I once created in my mind was not accurate.
In reading Job this time, I understand something new. Job sees the blessings he has experienced in His life as God’s approval. Because Job was blessed, Job saw this as the outward expression of God’s love for him. It is, but it is only one part of God’s love. There is more.
In rereading the story, I realize God saw Job’s heart. God knew Job loved Him, and Job’s love for God was not dependent upon the outward blessings. So much so, God demonstrates how pleased He is of Job by highlighting Job’s faithfulness through suffering. The truth revealed in Scripture is that God points Job out because He is proud of him:
Job 1:7-8: The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”
Job has no idea God is proud of him. Job cannot see behind the scenes. He cannot see anything but his suffering. I don’t blame him. When I am suffering, the suffering is all I can see too. I know I am guilty of completely missing everything but the suffering that is in front of me.
I realize, like Job, I have been guilty of assuming outward blessings prove God’s love for me. Not only prove His love for me to me but also prove His love for me to those who are watching my life. But now I see something different in Job. Job’s staying faithful to God through the suffering demonstrates his trust in God even though Job does not understand why evil has come upon his life.
I don’t understand suffering, but in the story of Job, there is more to the story than just the suffering.
What if we expect only outward blessings to prove God’s love for us? What if we expect only outward blessings to prove God’s love for us to everyone watching our life?
No one desires to suffer, and I will not ask for suffering, but what if my attitude in the equation changed? What if my perspective shifted from what I see to what God might see? God is proud of Job. He sees Job’s faithfulness.
I realize I have looked at appearances and made judgments about God instead of getting to know Him in His word, in prayer, and through a relationship with Him.
Once again, I realize I need a new equation:
Appearance + A Surrendered Attitude = An Assessment rising from the truth of who God is rather than my own misunderstandings.