I was caught unawares in a recent interview* on childlessness when the interviewer asked, ‘Who are your bible heroes?’
I thought fast. Who is my hero in childlessness, the one who most inspires me? I thought about Jesus. I thought about Paul. I thought about the disciples. I thought about the old testament too.
And then it hit me like a bolt of lightning.
I smiled. ‘My favourite bible hero,’ I replied, ‘Is Job.’
Think about it. There is a lot we can learn from Job. Here is a man who started out with everything: family, friends, property, wealth, wellbeing, success.
Then in the space of about five minutes, he lost it all.
Job didn’t see it coming. He was shocked and angry. He couldn’t believe this had happened to him. He couldn’t believe God had allowed this to happen to him. Job knew he had walked righteously before God, and it was outrageous to him that God should punish him so.
It was outrageous to Job that God should punish him so.
What stands out to me is the way Job responds. He complains. He protests. He shouts his innocence. He cries out loudly, raging against the blaming of his friends, giving a full and frank account of his anguish. He holds nothing back from God—absolutely nothing.
‘“And so I’m not keeping one bit of this quiet, I’m laying it all out on the table; my complaining to high heaven is bitter, but honest.”’ (Job 7:11 MSG)
Job says out loud what most of us are too ashamed or too timid to confess. He shouts what most of us would merely think fleetingly inside our heads. He comes completely clean with God, pulling no punches. He even asks God to kill him so his misery and suffering can finally end.
But Job never curses God. In all his agony, he never once turns away from God. He turns toward God, again and again. Sure, he’s angry, he’s livid, he’s depressed, he wants to die. He curses his fate and his own existence. But he does not curse God.
Job never once turns away from God. He turns toward God, again and again.
Then he insists God answer his case.
‘Job replied: “I’m not letting up—I’m standing my ground. My complaint is legitimate. God has no right to treat me like this— it isn’t fair! If I knew where on earth to find him, I’d go straight to him. I’d lay my case before him face-to-face, give him all my arguments firsthand. I’d find out exactly what he’s thinking, discover what’s going on in his head. Do you think he’d dismiss me or bully me? No, he’d take me seriously. He’d see a straight-living man standing before him; my Judge would acquit me for good of all charges.”’ (Job 23:1-7 MSG)
When God finally answers in chapter forty, he puts Job in his place. Job sees where he has gone wrong in trying to get God to defend himself. God points out he is the creator of the universe, and no one can tell him he is right or wrong.
And Job acquiesces. He bows, utterly silenced, and worships.
Would Job have reached that place if he kept silent, not spending the first thirty-nine chapters pouring out his heart, and never gotten honest with God? I think we miss many conversations with God because we never get started. At least Job starts the discussion. And then he worships.
Maybe we miss many conversations with God because we never get started.
May we be more like Job in the depths of suffering.
Do you relate to Job or another bible hero? What do you need to get honest about with God today? Is there anything in your heart you need to pour out to God? Share your story. Let’s have a countercultural conversation.
*For the full interview that inspired today’s blog, visit here: https://youtu.be/ZbWPP6tyD7Y