By Mike Mazyck
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” (Job 1:6-8)
You likely already know the rest of the story, but just in case, here is a snapshot: Satan claims Job is only faithful because God has protected and blessed him, and if God were to remove His protection and blessing, Job would surely turn away from God. God then gives Satan permission to test his theory. Job tragically loses everything, including his children, and is himself afflicted with excruciating sickness, all at the hands of Satan. Despite his torment, Job remains faithful. In the end, God restores everything Job lost!
I think most Christians read this story and think to themselves, what a tragic story, but look at how God was faithful to restore everything in the end. If that’s the case, I believe we are missing something very important. We miss it because we don’t want to see it. Make no mistake about it; God suggested Job to Satan. It’s right there in black and white. “Have you considered my servant, Job?” God initiated all of it! Then — as if that wasn’t enough — God permits Satan to attack Job! So, I ask you, who is responsible for all of Job’s misfortunes? They came from the attack of the enemy. But did they really? It’s likely the very thought of what I am suggesting makes you squirm and grimace. It does not fit the image we have in our mind of God. We don’t want to see what is right in front of us! But God wanted us to see it. He made sure that the exchange between He and Satan at the beginning of the story was recorded in the scriptures for all believers to see for all generations. He wanted us to know how this whole thing went down. But why? Why does He want us to know that He was the ultimate initiator and source of all Job’s torment?
There is one verse that’s easily missed, at the very end of the story, which I believe sums up the heart of God in all of Job’s distress. Job finally responds to God’s questioning by saying, “I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees you” (Job 42:5). Those are the most beautiful words in the story. The restoration of all of Job’s stuff doesn’t begin to compare. In the midst of extreme suffering, God revealed Himself to Job.
Although the scriptures don’t say it, I believe that was the cry of Job’s heart before all of this went down. He wanted God to reveal Himself. How could this not have been his desire? We know Job was a man who loved and feared God. It was the cry of Moses when he prayed to God, “show me your glory” (Exodus 33:18). It was the cry of David when he said, “This one thing I have asked of the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. To behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple.” (Psalm 27:4)
And this is not only the cry of those great men in scripture. It is also the cry of all true believers everywhere. Our soul yearns for God to reveal Himself to us. We want more of Him. Because it is the revelation of Him that changes everything!
Every day He graciously sends trials and afflictions to His children so that they may be broken. So that His Spirit can pour out of a meek and humbled heart. So that His child may become “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:4). He disciplines us as a loving father so that He can give us the very thing our soul yearns for — more of Him. When a bone is broken, it must be reset. That process is painful. If our muscles are to grow, we must break them down first. No pain – No Gain, right? Well, our inner man is no different.
That process is painful. If our muscles are to grow, we must break them down first. No pain – No Gain, right? Well, our inner man is no different.
Consider those words in Hebrews, “It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?…but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” (Hebrews 12:7, 10-11)
Some may say that I am accusing God of being the author of evil. Oh no, that is not the case. We must understand that there are truths in scripture that cannot be reconciled by the finite mind of man. God is completely Sovereign, in control of all things. Yet man, somehow, has free will. And Satan also attacks! In Lamentations, it says, “Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both good and ill go forth?” (Lamentations 3:38). Or consider the words of Paul to the Philippians, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13). Why would I work out my salvation with fear and trembling if the very next words say that God is literally responsible for the entire process? Which one is it, Paul? Well, it is both! We must accept both! We must concede that there are seemingly contradictory truths taught in scripture that we will not be able to reconcile on this side of Heaven.
I know this can be a hard pill to swallow, especially considering the unspeakable pain, tragedies, and afflictions that many of you have endured. I know it may not line up with the version of God you have in your mind. Nevertheless, this is what scripture teaches us, and we are called to embrace it!
But why, Mike? Why is it so important to embrace
Because then you will be able to submit to your trials rather than resist them, and His power will be made perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Because then you will realize that you are not in control, and upon such realization, step into the peace that surpasses all understanding.
Because then you may cry out along with Job. “I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees you.” (Job 42:5)
To read more of Mike’s writing, visit MikeMazyck.com