Today’s reading is Ecclesiastes 7:1-9:18, 2 Corinthians 7:8-16, Psalm 48:1-14, Proverbs 22:17-19.
Well, friends, I skipped commenting on the whole book of Job. Truth is, I don’t understand it myself. I can’t answer the hard questions that story evokes. Why did God allow this? Job was a good man, a faithful man. We must not miss the fact that Satan was the one inflicting Job with trials and tragedy, nor can we deny the fact that God allowed it.
7 The Lord said to Satan,[a] “Where have you come from?” Satan[b] answered the Lord, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” 8 The Lord said to Satan,[c] “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil.” 9 Then Satan[d] answered the Lord, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have you not put a fence around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But stretch out your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” 12 The Lord said to Satan,[e] “Very well, all that he has is in your power; only do not stretch out your hand against him!” So Satan[f] went out from the presence of the Lord.
The truth is, sometimes God allows the enemy to attack us. But we must know that any trial, temptation, or tragedy is filtered through His eternal love. Though our hardships feel like forever when we are going through their valleys, in the scheme of eternity, they are truly a blip on the screen. It will not last forever, and that is truth. And though He allows these difficulties in our lives, He will also deliver us from them, in His perfect time. A verse in today’s assigned passage is a powerful way to look at the story of Job:
Anyone who is among the living has hope.
And for the believer, death is truly does not exist.
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:55-57
And yet, our time of tragedy and trial will leave scars. I am sure Job had scars on his body and scars on his heart. But Jesus, who is very familiar with scars, can adequately heal and use the remaining scar to glorify God. Galatians 6:17 says:
“I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.”
The marks that Jesus had were scars of sacrifice. Do we bear His marks, too? We are called to take up our cross and follow him. We are called to sacrifice. But all things of value require sacrifice. Sometimes following Jesus requires persecution. In our part of the world, physical persecution is rare. But painful persecution still exists here too, often in the form of exclusion or lack of understanding. Following Jesus will cost you– often painfully so. Your spiritual feet may become weary, swollen, bruised. If you have followed for a long time, you will most likely have scars, as you endure this imperfect world. Amy Carmichael, a famous missionary to India, once wrote the following poem. It is written as if spoken by Jesus.
Hast thou no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side or hand?
I hear thee sung as mighty in the land,
I hear them hail thy bright ascendant star
Hast thou no scar?
Hast thou no wound?
Yet I was wounded by the archers, spent,
Leaned me against a tree to die; and rent
By ravening beasts that encompassed me, I swooned;
Hast thou no wound?
No wound? No scar?
Yet, as the master shall the servant be
And pierced are the feet that follow Me;
But thine are whole: can he have followed far
Who has nor wound nor scar?
If you have followed Jesus very long or far, you most likely have wounds and scars. But the truth is, traveling down the road of life without Jesus will cause more serious wounds and scars, wounds and scars without healing and without hope. So, if we are going to be scarred anyway, shouldn’t we have wounds and scars that count for something? Shouldn’t we accept those wounds and scars that can be healed by the Great Physician and then used as a beautiful thing for His glory?