By: Adam McClendon
Poor Job! Have you ever read about his life and just thought, “Man, I’m glad I’m not him.” He had it so tough, and to top it off, he had a wife telling him to curse God and die, and three well intentioned friends inaccurately telling him that he was suffering due to sin in his life.
In 28:1-11, Job explains that humankind are masters at finding treasures of ore, iron, copper, gold and the like in the earth, but the greatest treasure any person can find is wisdom. But where can wisdom be obtained (28:12-27)? In answering the question, Job declares: “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding” (28:28).
Here is what I find puzzling. “How does a reverential fear of the Lord help bring perspective in the midst of suffering?” In pondering that question, I think three key things are happening when I focus on a righteous fear of the Lord in the midst of my suffering.
1. It causes me to acknowledge that he is God and I’m not.
Okay, I agree, it’s a bit of a cliché, but it is also true. In Job, God is the providential, sovereign Lord over all. Nothing happens without it passing through his good hands. Life is not random, it is not coincidental, because God is not random. He is creator God and has the right to ordain events or allow events as he sees fit.
He is creator God and has the right to ordain events or allow events as he sees fit.
2. It realigns the system so that I understand that I report to him, and not the other way around.
I’m the servant. The servant doesn’t gripe to the master because he doesn’t like the task assigned to him. A true servant serves the purposes of the master to push forward the master’s will at the expense of the servant’s.
3. It humbles me to know that there are mysterious purposes beyond my limited perspective.
Just because I don’t understand and can’t see the purpose doesn’t mean that one does not exist. I may not even experience the goodness of the purpose in my lifetime. Job may have never known the purpose for which he suffered, yet millions of people have been encouraged by his story of faith and of failure.
In the end, a fear of the Lord brings wisdom. Why? Because, as I appropriately gaze at God as the sovereign and just Lord that he is, I find a humbling perspective that life is not just about me.