“There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil” (1:1). And so begins one of the best known and most intriguing stories of the Old Testament, about Job, a man greatly blessed but slandered by Satan: “Does Job fear God for no reason?” (1:9) That is, Satan charges Job with duplicitous scheming, of bowing before God only because of what he can get out of God. Good lessons, here, for the contemporary prosperity gospel people; that for another day, perhaps.
Job lost everything. One bad piece of news after another. Job’s response? “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’ In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong” (1:20-22). Now, there is much more to this story, and we’ll get to that. And, yes, Job has questions and even complaints, but it’s amazing, isn’t it, that his first, gut reaction (as we put it) was to absolve God of all wrong and to rest in and trust him. Though ultimately struggling with terrible loss, this is the natural response of a person of faith, to turn to God instinctively and to trust him.
Children of the heav’nly Father
safely in his bosom gather;
nestling bird nor star in heaven
such a refuge e’er was given.
Though he giveth or he taketh,
God his children ne’er forsaketh;
his the loving purpose solely
to preserve them pure and holy. -- Carolina Sandell (1855)