Job was a good man whose life was turned upside down. I get to listen in on his thoughts, weary from a battering attack on everything he knows.
“My life passes more swiftly than a runner.
It flees away without a glimpse of happiness.
26 It disappears like a swift papyrus boat,
like an eagle swooping down on its prey.
27 If I decided to forget my complaints,
to put away my sad face and be cheerful,
28 I would still dread all the pain,
for I know you will not find me innocent, O God.
29 Whatever happens, I will be found guilty.
So what’s the use of trying?
30 Even if I were to wash myself with soap
and clean my hands with lye,
31 you would plunge me into a muddy ditch,
and my own filthy clothing would hate me. Job 9:25-31, NLT
His friend tells him: you weren’t good enough. Or your kids weren’t good enough. This wouldn’t have happened to you if you were good enough.
Stephen is a good man whose life is cut short by an angry mob that doesn’t like what (Stephen) tells them. They cover their ears from his words and vision, drag him off and stone him to death.
Saul was there that day. Perhaps he was a bad guy–the one who persecuted Christians. The accusers laid their coats at his feet. He stood there watching Stephen’s death. Approving. God was about to turn Saul’s life upside down too.
Job was always a confusing book to me, but the more time I spend in it, the more I see present day parallels. Who hasn’t felt like their world was crashing down? Who hasn’t been tormented by thoughts during the day and nightmares at rest? Who hasn’t lost a loved one and wondered why? Or a fortune? Or health? Who hasn’t examined their life looking for the key that unlocked destruction?
And friends–I know lots of folks who strive to be good enough. And don’t we all want to be good enough on some level? I know I can never be good enough to earn salvation, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to be good enough in other aspects of life. Whose approval am I really trying to earn?
What I know of God just from these scriptures:
- He is the provider.
- Whatever is lost, he can restore.
- He can take a man like Saul and turn him into Paul–any life can be transformed powerfully by the very power of the Holy Spirit than any power of man.
- Nothing escapes his notice.
Because of Christ’s death on the cross, I am good enough. He is my mediator, so that God’s love is not kept from me–he hears every prayer, sees everything. I don’t have to earn God’s love; he loved me first, before I even knew him.
Lord, may I seek to be everything you’ve made me to be for your delight. Thank you for the power of the Holy Spirit to bring about change. Thank you that you hold all things together, even when it seems they’re falling apart.