A few weeks ago Jess and I started a chronological reading plan where we will finish the Bible in one year, and that plan has led us to the book of Job. Job can either be one of the simplest books of the Bible (because of its narrow focus) or one of the more difficult books of the Bible (because it is can be difficult to follow and easy to get caught up in details). The one thing that everyone can agree on, however, is that the book of Job is about suffering. It flies right in the face of the prosperity teaching (which simplistically states that GOD blesses His followers if they do what is right) that is so popular today and shows every believer that suffering is a real possibility in a fallen world. This is hard for us to wrap our minds around sometimes because in this world bad things really do happen to good people and good things really do happen to bad people, and let’s face it, this is does not make sense. We feel like when we do good things and help others, we deserve to be treated well for that and especially by GOD. We also believe that those who do bad/evil things should suffer and have bad things happen to them because it is what they deserve.
As I have been reading through Job over the past few days, this question has been on my mind…”What do I truly deserve as it relates to GOD?”
What if I give food to people who are starving, share the Gospel with people who have not heard it, and take care of children that would otherwise be alone? Do I deserve some kind of prize for that? Well, if that was truly all I ever did and I never sinned, I guess so. But isn’t this the way we look at life? If we are talking about ourselves or someone we like, we list all of the really good things we do and then talk about what we deserve. But if we are talking about others who we do not know or like very much, we name all of their negative traits and talk about all of the negative things that they deserve. In reality, how difficult is it to ask ourselves the question, “What do I deserve?”
This is where Job finds himself. He has to ask himself that same question. He sees himself as a righteous man who (in his opinion) neither needs to be nor deserves to be punished and yet here he is. He cries out to GOD and begs to be given death, but GOD does not answer that prayer. At the same time, he has to listen to his friends blabber on about nothing and basically tell him to his face that he is evil and worthless or none of this would be happening.
Then, the Lord speaks. When the Lord speaks, everything comes into sharp focus, and for the first time something hits you right in the face…
We do not want what we truly deserve!
When GOD speaks, we see that He is truly in control. He created everything, He holds everything together, He is good, and He loves us. All of these things together mean that we have nothing to worry about. Will we suffer…Yes. Will difficult things happen…Yes. Do we deserve death…Yes. Do we deserve to be separated from GOD…Yes.
Do we get what we deserve…No!
We should thank GOD every single day that His mercy is stronger than any of our sin, that His grace is freely there for the taking, and that His love can and has defeated even the most devastating enemy…death. Of all the things in the world that I deserve, I get the one thing that should never have been offered…I get the love of Christ. I get to spend eternity in His presence, and that is worth going through any suffering.