Job: Patience in Faith – Demanding the Goodness of God

God rewarded Job. For what? For speaking rightly of Him, while his companions had not spoken rightly of Him. Now in what did Job speak rightly of God?

The writer of Hebrews commends to us the ‘patience of Job’. In what was Job patient?

Job certainly did not endure suffering without complaining about it, for though he began by saying, “Shall we accept the good from God and not the evil? Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return,” he also said, “Cursed is the day on which my mother bore me!” But in all the things Job may have gotten wrong – and whether he could have gotten them better, or whether they were the best he knew – he never accepted evil as good or injustice as justice. Through everything, he persevered – or was patient – in believing that good was good and justice was just. In this, he spoke rightly of God.

This was one essential thing that Job had right, that people sometimes forget in the midst of admonitions not to question or doubt God and, also, that people forget when they encourage people “God can take your anger!” and tell people it’s all right to curse and blaspheme God. Ask for an explanation from the Creator – because you are confident He has one and actually want to hear it! In all of Job’s cursings, cursings of his life, complaints about those who came to “comfort” him, he never cursed God – he might have demanded justice from God, complained that he was being treated unjustly, but all in the confidence that, at heart, God was justice – that, if only he had an audience with the Almighty, his concerns would be fully addressed. In that, he was patient! He was confused, often dreadfully so, but in all his confusion he never bowed to the confusion and called injustice justice or evil good. He never said that, because God is in control, and these evil things were happening to him, therefore the evil must be good or just. Instead, he demanded justice from God, demanded an explanation, knowing that there was something terribly wrong with what was happening. God rewarded this steadfastness in what he did know – Job received his audience and his explanation: the Lord came to him in His glory, and revealed to him that there was much that must lie forever beyond his knowledge.

I do not ask anyone here to accept the revelation God made to Job before he has personally received that revelation! To do so would be to risk falling into the very pit Job avoided – for until you truly see and understand the revelation – no human words can communicate it even remotely adequately – to try to speak and think as if you understood it may be to try to make yourself think that injustice is just and that evil is good. (This does not necessarily mean that you must pass through Job’s questions and doubts to receive the revelation of God’s infinite glory. He leads each of us by the best path for that one – and that path is unique.)

Often men fail, either in calling evil good, in failing to believe that there is Good, or in failing to come before God – to ask an answer or communication of God. To doubt the Goodness of God, having not yet seen it and seeing much that contradicts what little you understand of it, and to demand an explanation from God, is the beginning of belief in Goodness, the beginning of belief in God. It may not be perfection, but to not do the best you know because you know that it is not yet perfect, will not lead you to perfection but away from it – though God’s mercy knows no end or bound, and may yet bring you back, however swiftly it pleases Him!

If the equivalence of belief in Good and belief in God is not evident at first or, due to a misunderstanding of God, the two even seem contradictory and incompatible, the first thing is to believe in Goodness – and, since God is Goodness, that comes to believing in God. None of us – at least, here on earth – know perfectly. It is better to pine – earnestly, desperately long – after the Goodness you see, even if that is a distortion of the true Goodness, than to accept something that is superficially or academically more right (if that even has a meaning) but seems to you to be evil or wrong or injust. Those who seek the best they know will have their desires fulfilled, often in knowing and receiving a good better than they could imagine – but we must start by earnestly seeking the Good that is real to us, not the Good we cannot yet believe, however much others may have tried to tell us. You cannot seek that which has no reality to you, but all who ask will receive, all who seek will find, to all who knock the door will be opened.

In confidence that God is better than you know, seek for the best you know! If you do not believe there is God, still seek and desire the best you know, even if you do not believe that best can be true. Always be open to whatever is Good, and never accept evil as good. Always be open to more Good than you had hoped or thought – never settle for less.

This is the patience of Job. This God will always reward. This is the faith that God is and that He rewards those who seek Him, without which it is impossible to please Him.

All who seek will find. Their inmost desires will be satisfied. They will see the face of God and live.

 

Copyright 2020 Raina Nightingale

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