The Bible records Job’s severest tragedy, yet hope was present in spite of his desperate feelings. Job experienced utter despair; having lost every earthly possession, having lost all his children to death, and himself abandoned on the local rubbish heap diseased and covered in sores. As if that were not enough, Job was plagued by 3 self-righteous would-be friends who tormented him with cutting words. Here, Job confronts us with words which humanly speaking, are perplexing.
In his lengthy admission, Job understood that ultimately the Lord had orchestrated his nightmarish circumstances. Job confessed; “Though he (God) slay me, I will hope in him…” (Job 13:15a). This short statement claws at every emotion, feeling like a violation of our understanding of God.
Although Job felt as if God was slowly taking his life, there are two truths which stand out from his words. First; God is always sovereignly in control over life’s events, even the ones that seemingly threaten to destroy us. Even in cases where, like Job, Satan is robbing you of everything in the most painful manner possible, remember; even Satan can only work within the boundaries set by the Almighty. There is no point where God does not know, when He does not understand, and He is not able to work out His purposes through your circumstances.
There is no point during pain when the comfort of the Holy Spirit and the soothing balm of God’s written Word is not at your immediate disposal. As the Psalmist says; “This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life” (Psalms 119:50). Scripture is full of promises which fuel the believer’s hope of eternal life. Our relationship with the Lord does not change because our circumstances have changed. The fact is; “…you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Romans 8:15). The intimate and eternal nature of the believer’s relationship with the Father can never change due to circumstances.
Second; Job tells us that no matter how severe the disaster, God is the one you and I are to hope in. Hope in God is to supersede any perceived personal rights or expectations. God got you to where you are, and it is God who shall take you past your present situation. Jehovah-Jireh (the Lord will provide), is a provider by nature, and He alone is able to synchronise His purposeful will with your life. His timing is usually different to our timing. Likewise, His methods are usually very different to ours. However, His goals are also much higher than ours.
I’m sure you noticed; Job was not hoping in karma, self-determination, or social support. No, Job knew his only legitimate hope was that God would either take Him to the glory of Heaven, or turn his situation around for the better. As we read on; “the Lord restored the fortunes of Job…” (Job 42:10a). Following the nightmare, Job’s life was restored and made better than before.
Job knew that should the Lord provide escape by relocating him to Heaven, His ultimate hope would be fulfilled. Listen as he explains; “And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold…” (Job 19:26-27). What we would possibly consider to be a tragedy, Job considered to be his greatest expectation fulfilled. He would have been satisfied.
As hope is not an emotion, but a choice, I encourage you to hope in the Lord when you feel hopeless.