[This is the second of fourteen passages that sustained me in the while in the dark.]
Though He slay me, yet will I trust him. Job 13:15
Besides Psalms, Job was my favorite book on which to muse while inside the deepest section of the tunnel.
I like to think of Job as the Bible’s “Biggest Loser.” He lost a lot of stuff in a very little time (his kids, his servants, his health…). If you’ve read the book, you know that he experienced emotional pendulum swings of intercontinental proportions. One moment he declared, “I know my Redeemer lives,” at another he moaned, “I wish I were never born.” I guess he was human after all.
Sometimes what Job said appears wild, impulsive, and even theologically eccentric. Yet God called him his “servant Job” and said that, in contrast to his three friends, Job “spoke of him what was right” (Job 42:7). God never viewed Job as anything but “his servant.” Even though he struggled and protested, he was still a servant of God.
It seems that God took everything – including Job’s pain-induced mood swings – into account. Even though he was not entirely accurate in some of his assumptions and conclusions, God saw his heart, knew his pain, and said that what he’d spoken of him was “right”! Knowing that God isn’t expecting that I flawlessly dot all my i’s and cross all my t’s liberates me. He looks on my heart and considers the circumstances of my life when evaluating my words, even the ones I shouted at him in Bob’s truck. (See my Tunnel Vision memoir chapter called, “Dodging Lightning.”)
For my money, this is Job’s most profound faith statement in the entire poem. “I will trust him even if he is deliberately destroying me. He may well be slowly doing me in, but I’ll trust him anyway.”
I wouldn’t be so surprised if he had said, “Though he slay me, yet will I serve him – or – yet will I obey him.” He’s saying that even if God were malevolent in the way he treats us, serving and obeying him is a no-brainer. To do what God says is always advisable, if for no other reason than to just stay on his “good side.” But in this one gush of faith, Job claimed that he was willing – even if God were trying to destroy him – to trust him.
That’s another level of faith than most people seem to have. We tend to trust him only when and if he treats us kindly and takes good care of us. Our faith in him is often predicated on what we consider is his good treatment of us. If he fails to do for us what we want him to do, our faith wanes. But Job’s faith – at least on that day – was rooted in God and his character in spite of appearances.
“Your character might be obscured in mystery just now. I may not understand the way you’re acting at the moment, but I’ll trust you.”
“It might seem to you that I’m trying to destroy you, and even though it’s not true, trust me as though it were. Trust me even when it seems like I’m doing the opposite of what you think is best for you. Trust me when you can’t see me working on your behalf and when everything in you wants to run away.” Jesus