Learning from Job

 

While we don’t often turn to the book of Job to quote and find tons of inspiration, we do remember Job when we appear to have lost everything and need to remember that God is still in charge and loves us.

Over the past week we have endured Hurricane-turned-Super Storm Sandy, a monumental election day, and a Nor’easter that threatened the same victims of Sandy. It’s been an insane week, to put it lightly.

And, while here in Maryland, we were able to escape the brunt of Sandy, our neighbors in New York and New Jersey weren’t. And on Election Day, determined to make their voices heard, many voted by flashlight due to power outages. Finally, a Nor’easter came knocking on their backdoor to compound the damage left by Sandy.

I live in a row house in Baltimore City and we don’t see much structural damage. Usually the most my neighborhood has to worry about is losing power. A seemingly minor concern when we remember the many people who have lost their homes and businesses due to Sandy.

In Breezy Point, N.Y., this statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary is one fo the few

things still standing and Hurricane Sandy. (Spencer Platt of Getty Images) 

As if the physical damage wasn’t enough, many of us waited on baited breath for the election results for the President and statewide ballot questions 4, 6, and 7. And if Election Day didn’t go the way you wanted (it didn’t really for me), we have to remember to be faithful, keep praying, and move on the next day.

In short, no matter what’s been going on the week, we don’t have the time or luxury to wallow in our losses in misery. Misery loves company and it’s tough to be faithful and rejoice in your suffering when you’ve lost so much. But that is exactly what we are called to do.

When we take a look back at Job, remember that God allowed Satan to tempt Job. Satan could do whatever he liked only he could not kill Job. Satan took the opportunity to try and break Job because he believed that if Job lost all that he had, that he would curse God.

Job was a wealthy man with lots of possessions and a large family. He was living a good and faithful life until one day it was all gone, including his children. In one fell swoop, Job lost his possessions and his family. At this news, he still fell and worshipped the Lord.

Then Job lost his health as Satan afflicted Job with sore boils all over his body. At this, even Job’s wife wondered why he still worshipped God. Job replied that we should accept both good and adversity from God. His friends are no help either. No matter how convinced Job is of God’s generosity, his friends only have hurtful words and advice to offer.

When God finally speaks to Job, it is an incredible reminder of the depth and breath of the power of God. (So much that it takes a couple of chapters to go through.) In the face of all of the things God does, Job can only respond with confession of all that he didn’t understand, “‘things too wonderful for me [Job], which I did not know.’” (Job 42:3, NASB)

Throughout every horrible thing that happened to Job, he still remained faithful. God rewarded his faithfulness by blessing him with more abundance than he had before. But Job had to go through some stuff before truly understanding the nature of God.

Job defended God throughout all of his troubles and remained full of integrity. Can we do no less? It’s easy to wish we lived somewhere else, had different circumstances, and that life wasn’t so hard for us sometimes. But then what would we learn about God? Would we truly get to experience his blessing as we remain faithful in all circumstances?

I’m not saying it’s easy at all. What I am saying is that there are times when we’ve let our eyes focus too much on things here on earth rather than turning our focus to God who will supply all of our needs according to his riches in glory.

No matter how you’ve been affected by the events of the past week, always remember that our faithfulness to God will bring us through anything. And while things on a daily basis may be hard, nothing stays the same and they will get better.

Take some time today and pray for those who have been affected by recent events, but also remember to praise the Lord and give thanks for your present circumstances. Rejoice in the good times and the bad.

Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.