I’ve never felt satisfied by the book of Job when we learn that God blessed the latter part of his life more significantly than the beginning. We all know that no amount of children or wealth would help him to forget his losses. The rest of his life – as bounteous as it may have been – was forever marked by his trials. Surely, he continued to mourn for his dead children, just as he rejoiced over his living children. The significant blessings that God poured out on him were glorious, but they did not replace or erase the significant losses.
I don’t believe that was God’s intention.
So, whenever I get to the the conclusion of that ancient story, I can’t help but return to a question that God asks Job earlier in the story. Like the chorus of a catchy tune on the radio, God’s question replays in my mind long after the dust has settled and Job is once again feasting at a table full of family and friends:
1 Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
2 â€œWho is this that obscures my plans
with words without knowledge?
3 Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
4 â€œWhere were you when I laid the earthâ€™s foundation?”
Throughout the 38th and 39th chapter, God bombards Job with similar questions – demanding “Who is like Me?” “Who is like Me?”
Under such questioning, the human heart melts to putty. All Job can say (and we, too) is:
2 â€œI know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
3 You asked, â€˜Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?â€™
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.
4 â€œYou said, â€˜Listen now, and I will speak;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.â€™
5 My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
6 Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.â€
That is the scene that keeps replaying in my mind as I think about our sweet Juliette, who awaits us in Heaven, and our sweet baby boy, who awaits us in my womb. When friends ask how I am doing as the one-year memorial comes and goes, I feel tongue-tied. One foot stands in sorrow and the other in unspeakable joy. I feel like my eyes are turned upwards, my hands are open, and I am unable to form an explanation for why life is one way and not another. The only response that comes to mind is that ancient question that God asks each of us over and over again throughout our lifetimes… “Who is like God?”