Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;
I will surely defend my ways to his face.
There are different kinds of faith, or at least different manifestations of faith. Job’s faith was a grit-your-teeth-and-dig-in-your-heels kind of faith, and sometimes circumstances call for precisely that. We can hardly see the present, much less the future, and our understanding is limited at best. Whether the Book of Job was historical or fictional is open to debate, but the reason it is included in the Bible is clear: we don’t understand suffering, and we’ve got to deal with that fact. Job’s example of hanging onto God and refusing to let go is one we all need to emulate at times. There are moments in reading Job that I have real empathy for his friends, because he is so stubbornly convinced of his innocence, when none of us are totally free of sin. However, that’s a reminder that Job’s put-down of his friends just before this famous statement could often be rightly applied to me: “If only you would be altogether silent! For you, that would be wisdom.” (Job 13:5) As the secular proverb says, “Better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” The whole book reinforces Jesus’ blunt statement, “In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33) That’s precisely why we need to have a stubborn faith that won’t let go of God, regardless of circumstances, just as Job states here.
“Defending my ways” seems like quite a stretch, because my only real defense is that Jesus died for me. However, that defense is more than sufficient, as the whole New Testament makes clear, so I am to live my life in the obedience that comes from gratitude. I am troubled by some people who seem to have a very sincere faith, yet don’t have the joy and assurance of salvation. I wonder what legalistic rot was dumped on them! I was in an online meeting yesterday about Christian Coaching, and one of the participants in my breakout group was rightly saying that when we have the assurance of eternal salvation, we should be optimistic and joyful all the time. After all, the full statement by Jesus, in warning us of the troubles we will have, is, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) I couldn’t begin to say how many times I’ve quoted that verse, both to myself and to others. We all need to hang on and keep trusting, even if our physical death is part of the process.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for all that You are doing in, around, and through me. May I be a consistent, effective conduit of Your grace, love, and hope to all I encounter, in person or online, for their blessing and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!