The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part. (Job 42:12)
If I asked you, “Was Job loved by God?” . . . How would you respond? The opening of the book of Job tells us that he was both blessed and blameless; the Lord God Almighty referred to Job as “my servant” and said “There is no one on earth like him” (Job 1:8). If we stopped right there, no doubt we would unhesitatingly answer, “Yes! Of course Job was loved by God!”
Yet the biblical account tells us that God allowed Satan to take away Job’s health, his wealth, and all of his children. Job was left utterly destitute, to the point where his own wife suggested that he “Curse God and die” (Job 2:9). And in a book that spans 42 chapters, God did not begin to dialogue with Job until the 38th chapter, and even then God never explained why He put Job though one of the most unimaginable storms that any of us could imagine.
As children of God, we must learn to understand His silences, no matter how difficult or painful the circumstances we are facing in life. Our God is God; He owes us no explanation for anything.
Much of life is unexplained, but Christian, I make this emphatic statement to you: Never equate the unexplained with being unloved. Hold close these comforting words that our Lord spoke in the Upper Room when He began to wash His disciples’ feet: “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand” (John 13:7). Some events in this life come with a clear understanding of what God is doing in our lives . . . others do not. But we must never think that a life experience left unexplained means we are left unloved.
The natural man who walks by sight demands to know everything about everything that goes on in life. In his blindness and sinful pride, he thinks his reason can raise him to that level of understanding, but that is just not possible, for “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). Without knowledge of the things of God, the natural man is like a child stumbling around in a room without light.
The spiritual man who walks by faith knows that some things in this life go unexplained because God has the right to be silent, regardless of the circumstances we encounter. The landowner in the parable of the laborers in the vineyard (who clearly represents God the Father) gently rebukes the disgruntled workers by asking rhetorically, “Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me?” (Matthew 20:15 ESV).
Think back over your life for just a moment. Do you not recall that many of your life experiences could not be understood until after you went through them . . . sometimes long after? And perhaps, like Job, you find some that some are still left unexplained.
Regardless of where this message finds you today and no matter what it is you have experienced or are currently enduring, please remember that unexplained does not equal unloved. Heaven may be silent and the storm winds may be howling, but look to Jesus and you will know beyond a shadow of any doubt that you are not unloved . . . it is just not possible that you are unloved!
As our Lord hung on Calvary’s cruel cross in unimaginable agony, enduring fresh stabs of pain as He struggled to take each tortured breath, the people passing by mocked Him, calling out, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:40).
And do you know what? He could have done just that! He could have come down from that cross in the blink of an eye and called on twelve legions of angels to come and slaughter everything that drew breath atop that rocky hill. But He didn’t do that; instead He stayed there and endured the full measure of God’s righteous fury against your sins and mine so that we might have eternal life and so that we need never experience the terror of God’s wrath because God’s Son experienced it in our place. And at the end, Jesus cried out, “It is finished,” a cry of victory so majestic that the earth shook and the rocks split apart (Matthew 27:51).
Christian, Jesus wasn’t held to that cross by nails, not for an instant! He was held there by His eternal love for you. And in the midst of your deepest trial and sorrow He says to you, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness” (Jeremiah 31:3).
As we close, may these words from Job comfort you this day:
“He knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.”
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!