Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong. – Job 1:20–22
Job is perhaps the greatest biblical example of endurance in hardship. Despite being a blameless and upright man, in just one day he experienced the death of his children and the loss of nearly all his possessions. Yet one of his first reactions was to acknowledge God’s sovereignty both in plenty and in poverty, in bringing joyful circumstances and in bringing grievous ones. As chaos, disappointment, and pain descended upon him, he shaved his head, put on his torn robe, and fell to the ground, not only in anguish but also in worship.
Remarkably, in the darkness of this pain “Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” Instead, in his tears, he trusted in God’s providence. In other words, he recognized that God knows what He is doing in every circumstance. God is worthy of our praise even in the hardest situations. Job knew that his times were in God’s hands (Psalm 31:15).
Most of us have lived through cries of anguish and pools of tears. We know how hard it can be to acknowledge God’s sovereignty and goodness in the middle of a storm. We wonder where He is. In our human response to pain, we’re inclined to find statements about God’s providence stale or clichéd—but they aren’t. In fact, with the passing of time or the changing of circumstances, we can look over our shoulders and recognize that there is no tragic situation that God has not sovereignly permitted. He allows all things to pass through His hands, and they do not take Him by surprise.
We must not make light of each other’s pain or offer easy answers. Instead, we are called to spur each other on to Christlikeness during times of hardship, reminding one another that God has granted us eternal life and steadfast love and that His care has preserved our spirits (Job 10:12). And, of course, we can look back in history and see that our God has entered the darkness of this world and plumbed the depths of suffering. He is a God who knows what it is like to be us. He is a God who has set before us a future where there is no pain or crying.
Even in the difficulties of life and the depths of pain, the fatherly providence of God permits all things for our good and His glory. He has proved that He knows what He is doing. For that, we can still praise Him in the darkness.
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