We study the life of Job with the gift of perspective: we know how his story ends. We know what goes on behind the scenes. We know, as readers, what he as the main character never learns in his lifetime, a biblical study of dramatic irony.
We watch and learn from his life like attenders of a play, sitting in the front row, with passes to a backstage tour after the performance.
As a result, it’s easy for us to identify the principles, draw out the applications, and learn the lessons laid out for us in the pages of Job’s namesake book.
But what about when you’re Job? When you don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes? When you can’t see how your story will end?
When you’re the one up on stage, blinded by the lights as you wait for your lines and try to figure out your role in the greater production?
What do you have to hold on to?
We have to hold on to the same thing Job held on to: faith in God.
What is faith?
Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
Faith means trusting in what we can’t see, having confidence in what we can’t touch, believing there is more than what we know.
Faith means trusting God, believing God, following God, loving God even when He doesn’t give us answers.
As P. B. Power wrote in 1876, “Faith is not always wanting to know.”1
Emily P. Freeman echoed his words in 2015: “Walking by faith means being willing not to know, never to know why or how things happen the way they do.”2
Job didn’t know. He couldn’t see through the fog of grief and pain as the mountains of loss and misunderstanding and physical anguish loomed over him, trapping him in a dark, cold, barren valley.
He couldn’t see why he was suffering. He couldn’t see what was going on in the spiritual realm around him. He couldn’t see what God was doing and allowing for him and through him.
So he looked up and fixed his eyes on God:
For I know that my Redeemer lives,Job 19:25-27
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
II Corinthians 5:7 tells us that we in the 21st century need to “walk by faith, not by sight” just as much as Job did in the Old Testament.
After all, God doesn’t call us to see. Seeing isn’t part of His design for us finite humans. Instead, He calls us to trust in the Infinite One who sees and knows all.
(And, when we stop to really think about it, isn’t that easier? Imagine all the responsibility and weight and sorrow and sheer overwhelm of seeing what we tell ourselves we want to see. Wouldn’t you rather leave the seeing and knowing up to God while you simply take His hand and follow Him?)
Emily P. Freeman continues in that same chapter, “Faith doesn’t mean waiting for understanding or clarity. Faith means trusting God in the midst of misunderstanding and lack of clarity.”3
On the next page, she gifts us with a beautiful description of this trust:
I confess how disappointed I am that I don’t have clarity. But in the confession, I begin to see Christ. I begin to release my obsession with building my life into something linear, something I can figure out. Instead, I believe that letting go doesn’t mean I’ll be left with nothing. It means I can more fully hold on to Christ and trust in the life he is building within me. I sense him inviting me to trust him, not because I’ll finally understand, but because I’ll begin to believe he understands me.4
In the middle of his trial, his valley, Job looked up.
So can you.
Don’t believe the lie that knowing will bring you peace, that seeing will make you complete.
Peace comes only from knowing God (Is 26:3), and we are already complete in Him (Col 2:10).
Instead, cling to Christ. Hold on to God’s promises. Look to Him. Believe who He is.
It’s this faith perspective—this faith in the One with the ultimate perspective—that will guide you through the valley until the mountains fall away and the sun shines again.
1 P. B. Power. A Book of Comfort for Those in Sickness. Banner of Truth, 2018, pg 66.
2 Emily P Freeman. Simply Tuesday. Revell, 2015, pg 173.
3 Ibid, pg 177.
4 Ibid, pg 178.
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