Photo by Mikhail Nilov
The life of Job, with all his protestations and struggles, is the best example of why living life with blinders on and simply accepting what God has in store leads to the best possible outcome.
Life is full of contradiction, adversity, and misery. In other words, no one said it would be easy. Reflecting on life, anyone who says it is smooth is either blind, mad, or lying to themselves. We live in a world where there is trouble at every corner, and disaster looms over the horizon every day. Yet, we are very fortunate to be alive and witness the beautiful workings of the world and its incredible magic.
But how can we navigate this world without falling into despair? Without raging against life itself?
It is pretty simple, actually. This question was answered many thousands of years ago by a man named Job, who lived in the land of Uz.
And the answer that Job fell on is living life as God intended, but what does this mean?
Living life with blinders on means living life not blinded to its terror and wonder. It is living life open to the possibilities of God. As horses are led by their riders along the racetrack, so should humans accept the guidance of the Lord. We must trust that where He leads us is where we should be. It is where we flourish to our fullest potential. There is no comparison to groping around the dark than being shown the way beneath a bright light. And, according to Job, God helps us through the latter. If only we trust in His designs, His wisdom and vision are greater than ours.
Reflecting on life is to accept that we, as humans, are flawed and weak creatures. We will never have all the answers in the world. We don’t have to since our Heavenly Father has shown us all there is to need to know and to be fulfilled.
Reflecting on the Life of Job
As part of the biblical canon, specifically the Old Testament, the Book of Job holds a treasure trove of wisdom for any aspiring Christian looking to incorporate God into their life more. The Book, at its core, attempts to answer why evil dwells in the world and what we can do, as finite, fragile mortals, to live in a world where evil exists.
Job, the man from the Land of Uz, begins the story as a wealthy man of great belief. Satan sees this devout man and says to the Lord that Job is only faithful because he is rich. So, in trying to make his point, Satan delivers Job misery in the form of loss. He loses his wealth, children, and servants. But Job is still a firm believer, refusing to curse God, even when Satan gives his body boils. This unyielding spirit turns Satan away. Yet, it is only when Job’s friends arrive and accuse him of sinning that Job becomes incensed.
It would be pretty irritating for a man of his piety to be called a sinner when Job has never once cursed God or blamed Him for his tribulations. So, perhaps in annoyance and resentment, Job calls out to God and asks why such evil fell upon him, a devout believer, and why there is so much suffering in the world.
The Hymn to Wisdom
The Book of Job contains a very insightful poem before we can read the Lord’s response. It is called the “hymn to wisdom” and discusses the difficulty of attaining wisdom. “Where then does wisdom come from?” it asks. “Where does understanding dwell?” True wisdom teaches us the world’s ways, and the universe’s workings are hidden from our eyes and the eyes of all mortals. Only God understands where it is and where it dwells, for He was there at the beginning; He started everything, and it is only natural that wisdom sits inside Him.
And that is what the Lord tells Job, through a voice in a whirlwind. God does not refute Job’s questions nor give them worth. First, He asks Job, “Where [was Job] when I laid the earth’s foundations?” The very nature of this question encapsulates the divine glory of the Lord, His infinite wisdom, and omnipotence. Who are we to demand from the Lord answers when we cannot even fathom the depth of His knowledge?
Humbled and afraid of what he had done, Job’s final response is only to prostrate before God’s power and confess his incompetence and lack of knowledge.
True evil is to question the ways of the Lord in a vain manner, without regard for one’s ignorance. As the last line of the “hymn to wisdom” says: “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.”