When God is silent: Job 19

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Today’s reading: Job 17-20.

I believe in the sun, even when it’s not shining.
I believe in love, even when I don’t feel it.
I believe in God, even when He is silent.
 – Anonymous

Job didn’t pen those words from the Holocaust, but he could have. He wouldn’t have written them at the beginning of his trials, however, for his faith was a work in progress. At the start he could only cry out to God.

“Though I cry, ‘I’ve been wronged!’ I get no response; though I call for help, there is no justice.” Job 19:7

He had good reason to cry. Look at all he went through:

  • the loss of his honored position
  • he was uprooted like a tree
  • he was alienated from his family and friends
  • even his servants ignored him
  • his wife found him offensive
  • children made fun of him
  • those he loved turned against him
  • he wasted away to skin and bones

He suffered losses in riches, relationships, respect, and health. You can probably find the hurts you’ve experienced among that list. I hope you haven’t experienced them all, but Job did. In spite of his losses, his confusion, his anger at God, and God’s silence, Job’s faith survived. He remained defiant.

“I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes–I, and not another.” Job 19:25-27

I don’t know the secret of Job’s defiant faith. I do know it serves as an inspiring example of what faith can overcome. What do you think was the key to his overcoming belief?

Job is finally sure that beyond the grave he will meet God as a Redeemer and not an angry Judge. He will be redeemed from all his misery—even if it will only be after death. There will be life and light not just death and darkness. This confidence does not answer all Job’s questions or solve all his theological problems. He still is utterly perplexed as to why he should have to suffer as he does. His suffering goes right on. God seems utterly arbitrary in the way he parcels out suffering and comfort in this life. But Job’s confidence of new life after death does enable him to hold fast to three of his cherished convictions, namely, the sovereign power of God, the goodness and justice of God, and the faithfulness of his own heart. With those convictions he holds out against the simplistic doctrine of justice in the mouths of his three friends. He finally puts them to silence. – John Piper

Image by David Pacey on Flickr, CC by 2.0

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