What can we learn about God this month as we read through the book of Job? In chapter 1 we read:
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. 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?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. (Job 1:6-12 ESV)
Virtually everyone in this room will experience a bitter calamity sooner or later. And you can mark it down ahead of time: it will almost certainly seem absurd and meaningless and undeserved when it comes.
You may be sitting in a restaurant in El Salvador or walking along a street in Paris or making a flight connection in Athens. You may be shaving and singing a hymn when you feel the lump on your neck. You may be buying supper for the family at the Country Club when all of a sudden you realize your two-year-old is gone.
It will seem very absurd, and you will cry out, “Why?” a hundred times before the cloud passes over. Most of our grief and pain does not come as a clear punishment for sins. Most of it comes out of nowhere and baffles our sense of justice.
That’s why the book of Job is so relevant. Job’s suffering seems to come out of nowhere and have no connection to his character. His story is recorded for us so that we will have some help in living through these calamities—and not just keeping a stiff upper lip but bowing reverently and trustingly before the sovereign goodness of God.