Job 1:8 “The Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.’”

Observation: Job was blameless, not in the sense of sinlessness, for no one is; rather, he had no moral failure with which he could justly be charged. So here we have a prosperous man living an exemplary life, who is about to go through a refining fire as great as that which any of us could ever expect to encounter. The shocking thing to realize about the story is that this awful testing was God’s idea, not Satan’s. It was God who brought Job to Satan’s attention, although verse 10 makes clear that Satan was already familiar with Job. He did not dispute God’s earlier characterization of Job as being “blameless and upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.”

Application: This premise, that the testing of Job was God’s idea, is both stunning and troubling precisely because it so profoundly confounds what I want to believe about my life’s afflictions. How I would dearly love to be able to blame someone else, anyone else, for life’s difficulties—a boss who is so unreasonable; friends and family who take unfair advantage; or Satan himself for afflictions that brought widowhood so much earlier than I deserved.

God cares above all else that heaven will be filled with voluntary lovers of His Son, and He knows that I can only join that magnificent company by being purified and refined by the withering fires of His testing. His strategy is to orchestrate circumstances, which, though painful for the moment, will cause identification with Christ once the raging torrent of crises has been successfully navigated.

It is in the intensity of such pain that my mettle is truly tested.

What will issue from my mouth, from my heart, as I watch life slowly ebb from the withering body of my wife? What is really in me where God is concerned? How thankful I am to know that God loves me enough to bring testing now, so my shortcomings can be discovered, my identification with Him clarified and made more perfect. In the midst of life’s most painful experiences my loving Abba reveals my heart by showing His. 

My inclination is to jump out of the fire prematurely; He leaves this option open by neither breaking my legs nor muting my tongue. But if I will go through the fire, agreeing with His pace rather than seeking my own, allowing Him to determine the fire’s intensity, then and only then can my joy in Him be made complete.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, most days I would give anything to skip today’s pain, but then I remember that You endured ultimate pain on my behalf. Thank You for making a way for me to spend eternity in Your magnificent presence. Thank You for not giving up on me.