Dysfunction Junction – have you ever been there? Job was in this place, a place where the tides have turned against him. In the beginning of the story recorded in the book of Job everything seemed fine. But wait. What is this? (Job 1:4-5)
“His sons used to hold feasts in their homes on their birthdays, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would make arrangements for them to be purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, ‘Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.’ This was Job’s regular custom.”
Apparently, Job gave his children quite a bit of leeway. They threw parties and spent his money with little interference or parental input. All the while he intervened on behalf of his sons and daughters to make sure his family remained in good standing with God. That would be similar to bailing out our sons and daughters every time they came in conflict with the law.
Let’s take a look at the lady in Job’s life, the one he was married to for better and for worse, right? Wrong! Job’s wife loved the good life Job provided, she definitely did not appreciate Job minus his fortune. Here is her pep talk after all their children were killed and their material possessions were gone (Job 2:9):
“His wife said to him, ‘Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!’”
So on this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day his wife showed her true colors. Job was left sitting in the dirt scraping his painful sores. Job had no family left, no money, and he was breaking out with a strange skin disease.
On top of that, his friends paid him a visit. “Nobody knows you when you’re down and out” could have been a blues written by Job because his friends truly did not know him. Here is their pep talk (Job 20:4-5 The Message):
“Don’t you even know the basics, how things have been since the earliest days, when Adam and Eve were first placed on earth? The good times of the wicked are short-lived; godless joy is only momentary.”
Job’s friends were not exactly subtle. They put it to him plainly that all the tragedies befalling him were his own fault. After their horrible and demeaning input, however, God came through for Job and set the records straight.
Sometimes everything has to be stripped away so that we can focus on the one thing that matters. Here is Job’s takeaway (Job 42:5-6 The Message):
“I admit I once lived by rumors of you; now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears! I’m sorry—forgive me. I’ll never do that again, I promise! I’ll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.”
As Job’s friends had misjudged him, Job had misjudged God. Job didn’t know God as well as he thought he did.
While nobody likes going through a crisis, the results are amazing. We‘re becoming more empathetic towards people facing similar issues, and we grow closer to God. I’m sure Job would agree: growing closer to God is the best gift of all!