Much of life is a mystery. We do not know why some things happen. From our puny human perspective, they just do, and that is all we can say about it. There are times in Scripture, however, when the veil between heaven and earth is peeled back long enough for us to catch a glimpse of mystery. Today’s Old Testament lesson is such a story.
Job was a wealthy man and had everything that this earthly life could offer. And he was a pious godly person of faith. It was commonly understood that those two things always went together. So, when we see behind the curtain and are privy to a conversation between God and Satan, the devil himself points this out – that Job only praises God because of how good he has it. Even with this understanding of what was behind Job’s misery, we still see the mysterious God allowing Satan to operate with only God-knows reasons why.
When calamity strikes; when bad news causes us to slump in our chairs; when adversity hits unexpectedly; when trouble smacks us upside our life like a sledgehammer, it is only human to begin wondering what we did wrong or what we did to bring on such a terrible set of circumstances. But the truth is: we just don’t always know. But what we do know is Job’s incredible response to the mystery of God. “The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” Rather than spending all of our emotional energy trying to figure out an answer to our “why” questions, perhaps the more sage response is to confess our faith in a radical trust of God. Using these actual words from Job would be a necessary start to navigating the troubled waters of evil which swirl around us, even if we have to say them over and over again to believe them.
God Almighty, every good thing I have in my life has come from you. It is your prerogative whether I continue to have those things, or not. Whatever happens, whether it causes heartbreak or happiness, is completely known to you. I trust that you know what you are doing, and I completely throw myself upon your mercy through Jesus Christ, my Savior. Amen.