Job 1:1-22, 1 Peter 2:21-25, 1 Peter 3:18
2013 and 2014 were brutal years for our family. In 2013 we replaced two transmissions. We wrestled with testing my daughter for Aspergers. Every appliance needed repair. My father, after 12 years of declining health, went on to glory ahead of us. And then a year later, my mom joined him.
And then there was my job. Even when I was successful and my sales numbers were good, I was having panic attacks. I could not sleep.
We had a year when we prayed for daily bread. Literally. If the end of the day came and we got no bad news, we breathed a sigh of relief. And then we wondered what was coming next. Every day looked like defeat.
My Scriptural refuge during that time was the story of Job. Don’t misunderstand me; I know he lost far more than we did. We lived in relative comfort compared to him. But we caught a whiff of the defeat that makes you wonder what is coming next and why is it coming.
We also had it easier than Job in another way: Job did not know what was going on, while we can see behind the curtain. He did not realize God had given Satan permission to take away so much. Satan thought Job would curse God and lose his faith. But God knew His man would be able to say “though He slay me, I will trust in Him” (13:15). You could say Job passed the test.
Even after all the devastating reports of what had happened to his family and possessions, there was other news Job was hanging onto: “But I know my living Redeemer, and He will stand on the dust at last” (19:25).
Sometimes the only news you have is the “good news.”
Like Job, Jesus suffered deeply throughout His life. Satan also tested Jesus and, as with Job, Jesus trusted His heavenly Father and persevered. Both stories tell us we are not alone in suffering. Both stories prove the trustworthiness of God. And you can almost hear a reverse echo in Job of Jesus saying from the cross, “My God. My God. Why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).
But there is also a stark difference between the story of Job and the story of Jesus. Jesus suffered on our behalf and for our redemption. Indeed, Jesus’ life of suffering and His death on a cross are the objects of faith in our own times of suffering. And if the cross of Jesus is what we are to place our hope in, then the cross was Job’s hope too, even though it was veiled.
When it looks like defeat is all you have, the cross of Christ is the hope that proves otherwise. Though He slay us, we have reason to trust our Redeemer; because of His resurrection, we know death is not the end.
Life is sure to hand us what looks like defeat. It looked like defeat for Job. And it certainly looked like defeat for Jesus. But we know that what looked like defeat for Jesus was nothing short of victory for us.
written by Matthew B. Redmond