Job is not a short book.
At the beginning there is tragedy.
At the end there is restoration.
But what is the rest of the book??
Dealing with friends (well meaning –sure– but let’s admit it — stupid & untimely)
Wrestling with God.
So what does that tell us?
I’m not really going to answer that question.
But think about it.
Our pastor has been preaching about trial the last couple of weeks.
People seem to think that we’re in the position right now where we need encouragement to be happy in trials, to rejoice in all things, to smile through tribulation, to be thankful for the refining fire — yes, these are things that people say. Not infrequently.
These are like Job’s counselors.
There is a definite difference between joy and happiness.
We can be joyful without being happy.
People don’t seem to get that.
Joy comes from who we are in Christ — it ultimately is unshakable.
Happiness, though? That’s more circumstantial. (And, no, it is not listed as a fruit of the Spirit.)
Get off my back.
People think we are sad and frustrated — which we are.
But they think it ends there.
In fact, it doesn’t even begin there.
Maybe in a month or two we will be only “sad & frustrated.”
Maybe in time we will be only “in a trial.”
But right now?
It begins with grief.
G-r-i-e-v-i-n-g is not fun.
It is not lovely.
And it is not a quick process, unfortunately.
We are in the midst of it, as Job was.
Eventually, the grieving process ties itself up, by God’s sovereignty & grace.
Eventually, we will be able to focus less on grief and more on physical trials.
And eventually, I will even be able to fall asleep without crying for an hour.
But right now?
We’re past the beginning of Job — the tragedy has occurred.
But we’re yet far from the end — the restoration is somewhere beyond what I can see.
We’re in the middle.
The ugly parts.
Wading through waist-deep mud.
And I am praying for the hope and faith to believe that restoration will be at the end.