The Agony of God's Golden Saints
But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. (Job 23:10)
This is a follow-up article to Job, the Golden Man that I posted last month. (http://bit.ly/23zT28b).
When we read the Book of Job, we get front-row viewing of an age-old drama. With curtains wide open and the actors’ speaking clearly, we have no reason to misinterpret the message. Yet, even now so many come away from the story with the same response as his friends. They blame Job, not his “miserable comforters” (Job 16:2). “Surely, the man brought his misfortunes upon himself,” they say. I heard this kind of talk in my young Christian years, and I hear it today.
Why do we have such a hard time with Job? Why is it so hard to see him as a “Golden Man”? I believe it’s because we interpret the story by our human paradigms. We believe God wants order in our lives, and that must mean unobstructed peace and progress.
But, just as the last article indicated, life doesn’t always work that way. God’s ways are far beyond ours, and His purposes are unfathomably superior. He reveals parts to us mortals; the rest remains shrouded in mystery. We acknowledge this, yet we still want to explain life’s difficult paradoxes. We cry for answers; we must have answers; we must give answers.
Unfortunately, in our passion for certainty, we often adopt a narrow theology that incites us to “shoot our wounded.” Little do we know that God is using this perplexing problem to expose our own judgmental hearts and to lead us into a deeper understanding of grace.
When I watched the movie, “Miracles from Heaven” recently, I thought of Job again. This wonderful film portrays one family’s ordeal with their daughter Anna’s deadly physical affliction. At the time disaster struck, the Beam family faithfully lived for the Lord. Under the weight of their trauma, however, they struggled in many ways -- financially, emotionally, spiritually, and relationally. They tried their best to keep the faith, but Christy Beam (the mom played by Jennifer Garner), faltered. They had prayed, the church had prayed, they had done everything they could do. Anna’s condition only worsened.
After church one Sunday, a well-meaning holy committee approached Christy and strongly suggested that God would not let this infirmity linger unless some sin had gone unconfessed. To them, the Beams simply needed to repent. Sound like Job’s friends? Exactly!
But this story ends as a golden story filled with golden characters. After the Beams came through their ordeal with their “miracle from heaven,” Christy extended grace to her shamed friends. She forgave; they humbled themselves. Everyone had learned and experienced God in a new way. They could all proclaim with Paul, Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! (Romans 11:33)
My prayer for you (and for me): Lord Jesus, as things intensify in our world, help us to be sources of strength and encouragement to each other. We don’t want to be like Job’s friends. We want to be friends who represent You, our great Friend. Help us to be golden women and men and to help others who are also in that process. Amen.
(Expect another golden story in a few weeks. It will be a great one!)
Helpful comments are welcomed!