Scripture to meditate on:
“My eyes have seen all this,
my ears have heard and understood it.
What you know, I also know;
I am not inferior to you.
But I desire to speak to the Almighty
and to argue my case with God.
You, however, smear me with lies;
you are worthless physicians, all of you!
If only you would be altogether silent!
For you, that would be wisdom.
Hear now my argument;
listen to the pleas of my lips.
Will you speak wickedly on God’s behalf?
Will you speak deceitfully for him?
Will you show him partiality?
Will you argue the case for God?
Would it turn out well if he examined you?
Could you deceive him as you might deceive a mortal?
He would surely call you to account
if you secretly showed partiality.
Would not his splendor terrify you?
Would not the dread of him fall on you?
Your maxims are proverbs of ashes;
your defenses are defenses of clay.
“Keep silent and let me speak;
then let come to me what may.
Why do I put myself in jeopardy
and take my life in my hands?
Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;
I will surely defend my ways to his face.
Indeed, this will turn out for my deliverance,
for no godless person would dare come before him!
Listen carefully to what I say;
let my words ring in your ears.
Now that I have prepared my case,
I know I will be vindicated.
Can anyone bring charges against me?
If so, I will be silent and die.
“Only grant me these two things, God,
and then I will not hide from you:
Withdraw your hand far from me,
and stop frightening me with your terrors.
Then summon me and I will answer,
or let me speak, and you reply to me.
How many wrongs and sins have I committed?
Show me my offense and my sin.
Why do you hide your face
and consider me your enemy?
Will you torment a windblown leaf?
Will you chase after dry chaff?
For you write down bitter things against me
and make me reap the sins of my youth.
You fasten my feet in shackles;
you keep close watch on all my paths
by putting marks on the soles of my feet.
“So man wastes away like something rotten,
like a garment eaten by moths. – Job 13
I once watched as two of my friends carried the casket of their tiny daughter to her graveside. It was the most painful moment of suffering I have ever witnessed. But my questions at that moment weren’t focused on their suffering, but on the remarkable resiliency of their faith and reliance on God.
In our reading today, Job offers one of the most painful confessions of faith in scripture, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him.” This is the essence of what I saw in the lives of my friends as their buried their daughter, and the beginning of the dawn of hope in Job’s trial.
Where does this kind of faith come from? In Job’s case it is clearly not a thoughtless Pollyanna response. Job has been wrestling hard with the disturbing reality of his situation. His children are gone. His home is gone. His security is gone. Nothing in his circumstances has changed for the better, and yet somehow there is a dim glow of hope beginning to dawn in his heart.
The ability to trust God during difficult times may be a gift of the Holy Spirit, but more often, it is the result of a lifetime of practice. Trust comes from experience. When we develop the habit of observing God’s goodness and faithfulness in the small things in life, we will be better prepared to trust in that goodness during the dark times.
“Though he slay me… yet will I trust him.” – Job 13:15
Questions to ponder:
- How have you seen God’s faithfulness in small things recently?
- How might you develop the habit of observing God’s goodness in your life?
- Do you think you would be willing to say with Job, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him”?