“Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face.” (Job 13:15, NIV84)
The book of Job is difficult to get a full grasp of. God allowed the suffering of one of His faithful children so that His will might be done and He might be glorified in the process. We can study it from a distance and begin to wrap our minds around the idea that a holy and omnipotent God can do whatever He wants, but in the end that analysis ends up a bit sterile. What about our hearts? What do we do when we put ourselves in Job’s shoes? He was a good man. He was a believer in God. He believed and trusted in God with all his heart. He daily was assured and comforted by God’s love and grace. All of a sudden God allowed external forces (Satan) to affect Job’s life. Job began to suffer, greatly. How did Job — how do we — wrap our minds and hearts around the fact that our loving God allows this suffering to take place?
The book of Job has the word “hope” in it at least 16 times, but none is more pointed than the phrase above: “though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him.” How is it that Job’s hope turned toward the very One who was allowing the suffering to take place? At the core of this hope was faith in the certainty that God is unchanging. This means He never acts outside His character. Even when eyes of sight would see it otherwise. It is our eyes that are failing and not God. Our sight is limited to the past and the now. God sees all that I see and the future as well. He sees the entire picture, while we only see part. This is why Job had the ability to turn toward God hopefully in what appeared to be the most hopeless situation. His hope rested in and relied upon God’s being true and unchanging. Against what all of his senses told him, Job hoped in a God who continued to love him in and through his trial and suffering.
What a lesson we can learn from Job. Satan would have us believe in the midst of suffering and pain that God has abandoned us. He would tempt us to believe that God has changed along with our circumstances, and thus cannot be trusted or hoped in. We need to understand that, like Job, we may not always know why God allows painful trials into our lives, but we can be assured that He is still lovingly and graciously watching over us. We need to be assured that although our circumstances may have radically changed in the moment of suffering, God has not changed. He alone sees the entire plan. He promises that all things work for the good.
Our hope can only cling to Him.