When I was a child, I was taught many stories meant to form and shape me as an individual that God could be proud of. Most of the stories moved me and I found no problem with internalizing them and putting them to good use. There were a couple though, that I fought with and the story of Job was definately one of them.
For those that don’t know the story, Job was this guy that always did the will of God and was good to his fellow man and God rewarded him with abundance because he was following the path to enlightenment. Well, everything goes along pretty well until one day Satan stops by to visit God and says (and I paraphrase), “Looks like you got the teacher’s pet thing going on over there.” God disagrees and Satan says, “I think the only reason this guy loves you is because of all the stuff you give him. You know almost bribing him to like you type stuff.” Well, this gets God to thinking and he decides to allow Satan to mess with Job. The only thing he can not do is kill him because that would defeat the point of the experiment.
So Satan gets to work and takes away all of Jobs abundance including his family with the exception of his wife. He makes Job really ill and tempts him to curse God. Even his friends and wife join in. Job is really upset and doesn’t understand why this is happening. He asks God for a reason and God tells him basically, “I am your creator and the reason is not yours to know.” He talks to Job about the fact that He was running things long before Job was even in existence and that it is not appropriate for Job to be asking him why.
Job, who had never cursed God and was not about to start now, continued to praise God’s name. When Job hit rock bottom, he still trusted God and had faith in what he was doing to him. God rewarded Job with a brand new family and three times the abundance he had before this whole thing started.
There are facts in evidence to suggest that Job was a real person and that all of this really happened to him, but to me the lesson that you take away from this is what is really important.
The reason the story bothered me for all these years is because I was looking at it from the wrong angle. All I could see is that God, just out of the blue took away this really good man’s stuff and had all of this bad stuff happen to him just because Satan made him wonder if Job was being real with him when he worshipped Him? It upset me that I could spend my whole life trying to walk the path and then have all kinds of bad stuff happen to me just because, kind of like the gods in greek mythology played around with their people. But after living to be 49 years of age this November, I think I might understand a little better what this story is really all about.
I think what God was trying to say by getting us to study Job’s life is that what is really important was the spirit inside of each of us. You can appreciate having a warm bed to sleep in and food in your tummy and people you love all around you, but the simple most important thing that you possess is that animation, that self awareness, that bit of special that was placed here by God. Why does the road get rough sometimes? Why do you or I lose someone we love? Why does life sometimes seem so unbearable that you feel like you just can’t go on?
Well basically, I think much of it has to do with making us stronger people and helping us to see what is really important while we are here. I think it also has to do with the fact that God does have a plan that for everyone and because each of us are not islands based on the fact that we are all connected and can not exist without each other, the explanation of why something has to happen a certain way would take him forever to explain. And then add all the stuff that He does that we don’t have the potential to understand and it makes the head spin.
God leaves stories behind to try to help us understand why things have to be the way that they are and sometimes we misinterpet as I did, simply because we are not seeing the bigger picture, as God explained to Job. So I get it, and I’m greatful to be blessed with the knowledge. Especially if you see Satan as a symbol of adversity and the story as directions on how to overcome, then it works out like this.
Adversity will happen, it is the way that our rough edges are smoothed. Any time a movement occurs in the universe there is friction; if there were not, change would not occur and the cycle of life would not continue.
- Questioning God is fruitless because it wastes time and energy better spent focusing on being a productive force and incorporating each lesson as you learn it. Finding the upside through tears makes you a stronger better person.
- Things will get better and when they do, you can be encouraged by the fact that your attitude was a major factor in getting there. You worked with God and the universe and that is how positivity and creativity are born.
- Always be greatful, always know that things will work out as they should. Accept that there are things that in time you will understand, but for now, it is enough to know that you are loved and cared for and that your creator is always watching.