Job could write about wounds. His words were more than patronizing platitudes and armchair proverbs. He'd been there and back again. He could describe intense inner suffering in the first person because of his own sea of pain.
Step into the time tunnel with me and let's travel together back to Uz (not like the wizard of ___, but like the land of __). This place called Uz had a citizen who had the respect of everyone, because he was blameless, upright, God-fearing, and clean-living. He had 10 children, fields of livestock, an abundance of land, a houseful of servants, and a substantial stack of cash. No one would deny that the man called Job was "the greatest of all the men of the east" (Job 1:3). He had earned that title through years of hard work and honest dealings with others. His very name was a synonym for integrity and godliness.
Then, without announcement, adversity thundered upon him like an avalanche of great, jagged rocks. He lost his livestock, crops, land, servants, and—can you believe it?—all 10 children. Soon thereafter he lost his health, his last human hope of earning a living. I plead with you to stop reading, close your eyes for 60 seconds, and identify with that good man—crushed beneath the weight of adversity.
The book that bears his name records an entry he made into his journal soon after the rocks stopped falling and the dust began to settle. With a quivering hand, the man from Uz wrote:
"Naked I came from my mother's womb,
And naked I shall return there.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the LORD." (Job 1:21)
Following this incredible statement, God added:
Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God. (1:22)
Right about now, I'm shaking my head. How could anyone handle such a series of grief-laden ordeals so calmly? Think of the aftermath: bankruptcy, pain, 10 fresh graves . . . the loneliness of those empty rooms. Yet we read that he worshipped God, he did not sin, nor did he blame his Maker.
Well, why didn't he? How could he ward off the bitterness or ignore thoughts of suicide? At the risk of oversimplifying the situation, I suggest three basic answers: Job claimed God's loving sovereignty; he counted on the promise of resurrection; and he confessed his own lack of understanding. We'll take a closer look at each of these tomorrow.
Under an avalanche? These are for you. Hang on tight.