Sometimes all the news is bad. Disaster arrives in wave after crashing wave, each new one more destructive than the last. Storms strike in rapid succession; debris piles up. The emergency which is happening leaves little time to deal with the one which has happened.
In a single devastating day, Job loses nearly everything which gave him security, status, and companionship. In a series of frantic reports, messengers bring Job terrible news. Before one of them can finish recounting the grim events, the next messenger brings another awful announcement: all Job’s flocks of oxen, donkeys, sheep, and camels were either stolen or killed, and all his servants were murdered. The final report describes a fierce windstorm which destroyed Job’s eldest son’s house, where his children had gathered, and left none of them alive.
By the day’s end, Job is childless and nearly destitute. He would no longer savor the love of his children. His poverty robs him of material comfort and of his standing in the community. What’s more, though it didn’t happen immediately, the calamities he endured will erode his once-strong trust in God.
At the end of that dreadful day, Job says, the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD (v. 21). The narrator adds that in all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrongdoing (v. 22).
Soon, however, Job will angrily lament what has happened to him; he will question and argue with God. Even so, God will honor his honesty: Job has spoken of me what is right (42:7).
The crucial thing, in seasons of both delight and distress, is to keep talking with and listening to God. The conversation itself is the way of faithfulness, the way we endure, learn, and grow.
What has sustained you and your faith in your most challenging and disillusioning moments?
Empower us, God, to keep listening and speaking to you. Help us trust that you honor honesty about our hurts and hopes. Amen.