“For though I were right, I could not answer; I would have to implore the mercy of my judge.” (Job 9:15)
As I continue to read through Job, I see him repeatedly display a life of steadfast faith amid his suffering. I find myself relating to him in many ways, even though my suffering pales in comparison. This week I recalled an incident that happened early in my Christian life that helped me identify deeply with Job. Our middle daughter suffers with a rare autoimmune disorder and has struggled with her health all her life. When she was still a toddler, recently diagnosed with severe asthma, we reached out to friends in our small group for prayer. We looked up to the couple who led the group and trusted the other couples studying with us. One night after Bible study and prayer, the leader came to us and told us that it was sin in our lives that was causing our daughter’s illness, that we needed to repent, and our daughter would be healed. Staggered, confused, and deeply hurt, we sought wisdom from our pastor who prayed with us and took us straight to Scripture.
We were experiencing some of what Job did in these first few chapters. In Job 6, he is in the depths of despair and cries out, “Oh, that my grief were actually weighed and laid in the balances together with my calamity! For then it would be heavier than the sands of the seas;” (Job 6:2-3 NASB). Instead of his friends comforting him, however, they respond by denouncing him and urging him to repent so God would restore his prosperity. They appear well-meaning, but they are kicking poor Job when he’s already down! Fortunately, Job has anchored his faith in truth, and this is an encouragement to me.
A Forsaking Friend Acknowledged
Job’s despair is so great that he sees no end in sight and no comfort for his pain. When he sought comfort from his friends, he found only condemnation. He realizes that they are afraid – if trouble could come to Job, a righteous man who feared God, how much more could come their way – but he does not excuse their unkindness. Job confronts them with truth: “He who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty” (Job 6:14 ESV). Job’s only consolation was anchored in knowing that he had not denied his God.
A Focus on God’s Character Confessed
Job could have whined; he could have resorted to anger and bitterness. But that isn’t how he responded. Job’s complaint was just. He was in agony and felt rejected and alone. Yet, he did not become defensive or accusatory. Job chose to defend himself by confessing the sovereignty and power of His God. He knew God was his judge and he could not resist or oppose Him. He was anchored in knowing God.
A Fundamental Need for Mercy Expressed
Though Job knew God was not punishing him, he also knew that he needed God’s mercy. Job knew God as Righteous and Holy, and he knew that he was not. He did not appeal to man for relief, but instead humbly cried out to God for mercy. God’s mercy was an anchor for his soul.
I want my faith anchored in the truth of God’s Word, even when that truth is painful, or I may not understand it. I want to respond rightly to criticism, just or unjust, by focusing on who God is and remembering Whose I am. And I want to humbly acknowledge my need for mercy as I cry out to my Merciful and Mighty Sovereign God.
Here are my challenges from this week’s reading:
- What anchors my faith? Is it feelings or circumstances? Is it in what others think or say or is it in the truth of God’s Word?
- What kind of friend am I? Am I withholding kindness from someone, and what will I do about it? In what way might I be denying God’s Word in my daily actions and attitudes?
- How do I respond to accusations and recriminations? How can I acknowledge God’s attributes and submit to His authority even during times of hardship and pain?
- Where do I go for relief when I am hurt? How aware am I of my need for God’s mercy?
Father, may we be like Job with our faith firmly secured, anchored in Christ alone! Amen. ©