Job is angry. Of course he is. He believes himself righteous, and yet the God who created him has apparently turned on him. Like any of us might do, he blows his own suffering out of proportion, blaming God for every mishap and misfortune to touch the face of the earth. Job sound like a whining child, “You always do this! My life is unfair! The whole world is unfair!”
I used to be one of those all or nothing people (although I’ve learned through practice and patience not to be). If something went wrong in my day, the whole day was ruined. If I dieted and had a slip, the whole diet went out the window. If someone I love got sick, I was devastated and essentially ineffective in grief. And yes, if I believed God was responsible for any of it, I was fully capable of holding a God grudge for a very long time.
But too much of my world has let me down to live like that anymore. If I succumbed to grief every time something went wrong, I would live in a perpetual state of sadness. Now I live each day intentionally aware of all the things that happen – the bad and the good. I can’t afford to let a whole day, or even a full hour be ruined. Surrounding every piece of bad news is a word of good news. Behind every moment of suffering is a moment of rejoicing. Sometimes it takes a keen eye to see it. But it’s always there if I’m willing to see it.
Then Job answered: “No doubt you are the people, and wisdom will die with you. But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you. Who does not know such things as these? I am a laughingstock to my friends; I, who called upon God and he answered me, a just and blameless man, I am a laughingstock. Those at ease have contempt for misfortune, but it is ready for those whose feet are unstable. The tents of robbers are at peace, and those who provoke God are secure, who bring their god in their hands.
“But ask the animals, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of every human being. Does not the ear test words as the palate tastes food? Is wisdom with the aged, and understanding in length of days?
“With God are wisdom and strength; he has counsel and understanding. If he tears down, no one can rebuild; if he shuts someone in, no one can open up. If he withholds the waters, they dry up; if he sends them out, they overwhelm the land. With him are strength and wisdom; the deceived and the deceiver are his. He leads counselors away stripped, and makes fools of judges. He looses the sash of kings, and binds a waistcloth on their loins. He leads priests away stripped, and overthrows the mighty. He deprives of speech those who are trusted, and takes away the discernment of the elders. He pours contempt on princes, and looses the belt of the strong. He uncovers the deeps out of darkness, and brings deep darkness to light. He makes nations great, then destroys them; he enlarges nations, then leads them away. He strips understanding from the leaders of the earth, and makes them wander in a pathless waste. They grope in the dark without light; he makes them stagger like a drunkard.”