Newsflash from my chronological reading: apparently Job comes after Genesis! Who knew?
I opened up my Bible all ready to turn the page to Exodus, but to my surprise, Job supposedly dates to approximately the time of Abraham and the patriarchs.
I have to admit I gulped a bit when this revelation struck. I mean, it’s one thing to trace the thread of grace through some of those classic Old Testament stories, but honestly, where’s the grace in this account? Almost the entire book feels like a series of one-two punches for our poor buddy Job.
Here’s the scene: God starts bragging on Job to Satan, and what happens? Job promptly loses his livelihood, his possessions, and his children, all in the course of 24 hours. Then he loses the one thing he has left: his health. Where’s the mercy in a story like that? Doesn’t Job, at the very least, deserve some kind of extreme circumstances caveat? Three KOs in one day, and you’re permitted to have a breakdown—or least do some serious bellyaching?
But to my surprise, here’s how Job responds in the wake of his tragedies: “Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” (Job 2:10).
I like to think of grace as the hug after the bike spill, not the tumble itself…the rainbow, not the preceding storm…the spoonful of sugar, not the medicine.
In light of Job’s story, I wonder if there’s something a little off about my definition of grace. Am I able to take what comes from the hand of God, even when it falls outside of what I consider gracious?
I’m not quite there yet. But when it comes down to it, I guess I’d rather have what comes from the hand of God, whatever it is, than to walk away from him, empty-handed.
All which I took from thee I did but take,
Not for thy harms,
But just that thou mightiest seek it in My arms.
—The Hound of Heaven
I’ve taken the challenge of reading the Bible chronologically this year and tracing the thread of grace through it. These musings are prompted by my reading. I’d love to have you join me: One Year Bible reading plan.
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