June 30, 2013 by lellielieb
“There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job.” Job 1:1
Ten years ago last January my husband and I traveled to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for a pastor’s conference. My husband brought along a CD of John Piper’s narrative poem about Job, The Misery of Job and the Mercy of God. I did not want to listen to it. A strange sense of dread overwhelmed me. Somehow, I felt that if we listened to the poem, we would open ourselves to suffering. We listened, and the suffering flowed. Within months, we experienced career loss and the death of my husband’s father. The years to follow brought other kinds of pain and loss for us and for our children. It’s been a rough road. We have found, though, that the title of the poem held true, always in the midst of suffering, we have found profound and perfect mercy.
Today, things are looking up. My husband just began a new job; I’m five years out from my last chemo treatment, our children are struggling like everyone else in this modern society and crazy economy, but are faithful to Jesus and walking in His ways. We have a roof over our heads and food on the table. We have learned much–mostly we have learned that God is always good and that He loves us. Still, I have to admit that when I turned to the calendar for this morning and saw that I would be reading through the book of Job this week, my heart sank a little. Then, almost at once, I saw this as a golden opportunity. Last time, I was looking into what was coming. Now, I’m looking back. I can learn from what happened in the past. This is not to say that I think my earthly suffering is over. I know better than that. I’m just saying that I have suffered and learned. As a veteran sufferer, I think I will see the story differently.
Here’s the first thing I noticed. Job, before his experience of suffering, was a bit of a control freak. Whenever his kids would have a feast, and apparently they had them often, he would go and offer sacrifices for each of them…just in case.
“And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, ‘It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.’ Thus Job did continually.”
I recognize this trait in myself. I like to have everything under control. Ten years ago I behaved in a very similar way to Job. I did everything I could to keep my household “looking good” in every way. Now I know that this is not possible, nor is it my job. Everything good comes from God. Everything is by His grace. Mercifully, God allowed me to lose control and I do not want to take it back again. Sure, there are times when I am tempted to do so, but I have learned to stop and think, and to end my prayers with “Thy will be done.” He really does know best!