August 22, 2008

Blessed Be the Name

Job 1

“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”
Job 1:21


Job was not perfect. After he suffered devastating losses, he shook an angry fist at God and demanded that God explain why (Job 31:35-37). But it's no wonder he was angry. His children (10 of them!) died when their house collapsed, and all the rest of his possessions were burned by fires or stolen by thieves. Still Job was an upright man, one who feared God and shunned evil (Job 1:8). What do good men and women do when faced with great loss? They likely experience a wide range of emotions, but in the end, they look to God; they lean on God; they trust God. They learn to say (or sing): “Every blessing you pour out I'll turn back to praise. When the darkness closes in, Lord, still I will say, Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

?lyrics by the Newsboys

Eventually Job received God's answer to his plea “Why?” In Job 38-42 God asks Job a series of questions. Through the swirling puzzles God sets before Job, God gives a non-answer and also the best answer why so much devastation visited him. God gave Job a “weak” answer that is the strongest of all: “Job, you can't understand. You'll just have to trust me.” So it is in much of life. We just have to trust God because we won't understand.

Lord, teach me to leave my burning questions with you and simply to trust you. Your ways are not our ways. Help us to trust that you know best. For Jesus' sake, Amen.

About the author — Mark Stephenson

Rev. Mark Stephenson is the Director of Disability Concerns for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Previously he served in two congregations in Michigan. He and his wife have four children.

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