My husband and I recently finished reading through the book of Job. It was the first two chapters which most captured my attention. The opening narrative of Job’s life moves very quickly and tragically. In one day and seven short verses (1:13-19), Job loses his oxen, donkeys, sheep, camels, servants, sons, and daughters to the Sabeans, to fire which fell from the sky, to the Chaldeans, and to a mighty wind from the desert. The second chapter finds Job afflicted by painful sores from head to foot and by a wife who encourages him to curse God and die.
After losing his livestock and children, Job certainly grieved. We are told he tore his robe and shaved his head. He cursed the day of his birth. It is important, however, to consider what else Job did and did not do. We also read, “in all this Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing,” nor did he “sin in what he said.” Despite the difficult providences which came to him, he asked his wife, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
The Westminster Shorter Catechism (Question 7) asks, “What are the decrees of God?” The answer is: “The decrees of God are, his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.” Whatsoever comes to pass.
As we begin 2021, we do not know what will happen to us as individuals, families, churches, or nations. And yet, in all this, we must hold fast to our heavenly father who governs our affairs.
Can we cry out to God in our trials? Most certainly. In Christ, we have THE one who can sympathize with us (Heb. 4:15). And in the Psalms, he has given us the words we can use to cry out to him. They are the words he himself used.
We must also guard our hearts, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt. 12:24). As Job did not sin in what he said, so must we ask for the Spirit’s help that we may not sin in what we say. This means we must speak rightly about our circumstances and about the God behind those circumstances.
The words we speak should reflect the truths found in Scripture about God’s character and promises to his people. Our lives can be trying, difficult, grievous, almost unbearable. Yet behind all these things is a God who is faithful, kind, merciful, and able to bear us up, whatsoever comes to pass.