God’s Goodness to Job

At the beginning of last year, I wrote a song as a reflection on all the things God had done in my life the year before. The refrain went: “Oh, the goodness of the Lord is before my eyes, all my life.”

I was reminded of it this last Sunday.

The sermon at church was on the book of Job, and afterwards, my six-year-old niece, Abby, asked me what the pastor had been talking about. Our conversation went like this:

“Well,” I said, “Job was a man in the bible and all his possessions were destroyed, and his kids were killed, and he got very sick.”

“And Satan did that?”

“Yeah, God gave Satan free reign with everything Job had. But Job still kept his faith in God. Which is why we still read his story today, and will probably keep telling it for all of eternity.”

“And his wife didn’t believe in God?” she asked.

“No, she did believe in God. But when she saw all of the bad things that had happened to them she couldn’t believe that God was good anymore, so she told Job it would be better for him to die than to go on living.”

“And how was God good to Job?”

” . . . ”

It was a long silence, but I did end up giving Abby an answer. What I wonder is, what’s your answer to that question? It’s an important one. Is God still good when His goodness is not visible?

And how is He good?

It’s not just the question of a six-year-old, or Job’s wife, it’s the question of our world. Look at everything that’s happening, how can you still believe there is a good God?

The goodness, kindness, and gentleness of God have marked my life in extraordinary ways, but the hardest lesson of my spiritual life was having to choose Him when His goodness was nowhere to be seen.

Which is why it’s also a profoundly personal question. Moses doesn’t exactly describe what he saw on the mountain when God “caused His goodness to pass before him.” Maybe we all would have seen or experienced something different. And maybe we all do experience the goodness of God in unique ways, which is why it’s so crucial we tell, or sing (if you’re me and sing everything), or write about it — like David did in Psalm 23:6.

In the last chapters of Job, God has a conversation with Job. I consider it to be one of the most beautiful portions of all of scripture, because in it God describes Himself — He literally goes on and on about Himself. But the key is not just that God answered, not even that God defended Job, but that He stayed with him, and heard everything both Job and his friends had to say. He never left him for a moment.

What I told Abby was that the goodness of God to Job was His relationship with him.

But that’s my answer because that’s my story as well. In this video the preacher and writer, Bob Sorge, gives his interpretation of God’s goodness to Job, based on his own testimony and experience. It’s well worth a watch:

One thought on “God’s Goodness to Job

  1. Was I was a youth of about 10 years old, I first read the story of Job–and my initial gut reaction was to look at his story as a form of finals week for this guy’s relationship with God…

    I wanted so badly to be on that same level, to pass God’s test in such a way that would make God proud, while all at the same time hoping, nay begging and pleading with God, that such a test might not be necessary for me. That I could plead my experiences as a youth, though nowhere near the traumas this particular book portrayed, might somehow grant me a handicap–and that I could have the easy version.

    I’ve learned since then that moving through the tests, and with the tests, can lead you to a place where the trials of yesterday become a light burden compared to the growing pains of experiencing something new and for the first time–that, as hard as life was at one point because of something that happened, if that same thing were to happen again… it would not nearly be as trying as it was before, or, at least, not as trying as a new wound, never before discovered possible. As time has gone by, and I’ve reflected on the lessons of life, I remember the breakdown of Job and his life from constantly new perspectives and with new appreciations.

    Job had God on his side, and he had profound belief, though not perfect, but even then–it wasn’t until the hour of God’s choosing that Job got to hear God’s voice. It wasn’t until Job felt he was at the last shreds of his very own existence, where he felt himself wondering if he had anymore to give, where God spoke up and said: “Who are you, that thinks that all you have had–the riches you once owned, the wife that once stood as your companion, the recognition you received while on this earth–would ever compare to all that I am?”

    Having now many more testimonies where I have felt myself, time and time again, wondering if I’ve had anything left to give, the one thing I’ve found consistent between Job’s story and mine, is how time and time again I find myself at the most open to recognizing just how much more there is to God and this world than what little wealth I’ve ever managed to collect (though I still pray I never have to go through what he did in all it’s entirety). Another common theme: God, my Dad who has everything, because he is the God of all things, is with me always–even when I’m blinded to him by my own inabilities to see past all the blessings that I currently have (whether that be a place to sleep at night in relative safety, the food that I eat, or even something more taken for granted–like my ability to speak, or my ability to walk), and with that testimony and knowledge, I begin to see the limitless in my relationship to our Father.

    The trials in my life have made me feel weak, demoralized, unable, torn, battered, scared, lonely, hollow, hopeless, and placed me at the end of myself–more times than I’d like to count–but the one thing they have never ceased to do in the process is direct my vision passed all that is me, to God, who has more than I’ve ever been able to really imagine, and make me value my relationship with Him even more. How fortunate am I, that I need simply ask, and my best friend would take care of all of my needs?

    Oh yeah, let’s not forget to mention his Son Jesus. That guy knows what’s up too…

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