20th of February 2017

21 [Job] said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there; the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”     (Job 1:21)

Welcome to St Clement’s!

Two weeks ago, I encouraged us to join in with the hymn, ‘To God be the glory great things he has done’. I think most would agree it’s easier to do that when life is ‘going well’. But what about when life is not ‘going well’?

That was Job’s experience hundreds of years ago, as Satan ripped away Job’s family, wealth and health. Satan did this because he thought Job was just a fair weather believer, only blessing God because all was ‘going well’. Satan wanted Job to curse God and sing ‘To God be cursing bad things he has done’ (Job 1:11). Even Job’s wife said he should curse God and die (Job 2:9)! But instead Job responded with the verse above. After all the suffering and pain he had experienced, how does Job bless God and not curse?

It’s because Job had a right view of God, and a right view of himself. Job understood and lived out Psalm 100:3, ‘Know that the LORD is God. It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.’ (Ps. 100:3). In pain and suffering we might, like Job, question God, and wonder why me, but we must continue to know that the Lord is God. He is the Creator, and ruler over all, and we are not because we are God’s creatures. We may never know why we, or others suffer, but we do know that as believers, even in suffering, we rest in the arms of our Creator, who is good and loving (Ps. 100:5).

We also have something or rather someone that Job did not have, Jesus. Jesus was not at arm’s length from suffering. He knows suffering first hand because he suffered and died on the cross taking the penalty for the sins of the world, that Satan and his power might be defeated.

Whether now or in the future if ‘life’s not all as it should be’, let’s say with Job, ‘blessed be the name of the Lord’. Not stoically, or with a sigh and shrug of the shoulders, but honestly because we know that even in suffering, God is still loving and God is still good.