James 5:11 – Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
In this section of James, he mentions a man from the Old Testament named Job. The book of Job is a long book about a godly, good man who isn’t perfect but is “righteous” and “blameless”. He’s healthy, successful, strong, wealthy, and has a great, big family with a wife, seven sons and three daughters. It seems like he’s winning; then, the bottom drops out.
His kids die. The worst thing I could think of is preaching your child’s funeral. His business bankrupts. His body breaks out with sores and he’s scratching his itchy skin with broken pieces of pottery. His wife is not particularly helpful; her advice is to “curse God and die”. He has a couple buddies that aren’t super emotionally present and helpful and says he must be suffering because he’s sinful.
Job can’t think of any reason God would hate or attack him, which is what it feels to him like is happening. The book has 37 chapters of brokenness and tragedy. The entire time, he’s looking up to God saying “Where are you? What are you doing?” Have you ever been in that place? Because he’s going through such a tough season, he starts judging God.
In chapter 38, God shows up and essentially says “Hey, you don’t ask me the questions, I ask you the questions. You’re not the judge and I’m not on trial.” God starts asking him questions like “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?” (Job 38:4) God clarifies that He’s in charge and man is not. By faith, we must realize that God is trustworthy and ultimately doing good even if it doesn’t look like it in our current circumstances.
Job changes the posture of his heart and much of his life is restored, and it’s easy to say God blessed him because he turned his heart back towards him. However, he still doesn’t get his kids back, and I’m sure that would still create a brokenness in his soul every day.
The big idea is that Job knows something we often forget – there’s a third person trying to affect your relationship between you and God…the Enemy. If we’re suffering and being attacked, we don’t need to blame God, we need to remember that Satan is also at work in the world and wants to destroy those who love God.
What suffering in your life have you attributed to God that you need to rightly attribute to Satan?