Humbled by God

Then Job answered the Lord and said: “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:1–6, ESV)

Job’s story is timeless and captivating. Trouble rains down upon his life and all but his breath is stripped away. His friends told him that it was his sin that brought all this pain and agony and if he would simply repent, the clouds would break and the sun would shine once again. But Job was adamant: his suffering was not the result of his sin (which was true — see Job 1-2). However, as the book moves on and Job continues to defend himself against his friends’ accusations (“you must have done something, Job”), Job’s tone because to take a haughty and prideful air. One begins to get the sense that Job wants God to take a the stand.

But then in Job 38-41, God speaks. He tells Job to man up (38:3) and get ready to defend his foolish and haughty words (38:2). He ask Job if he knows where the snow is stored (38:22), if he knows how to stop waves (38:11) or move stars in the sky (38:31-33). He reminds Job of his position as created being and God’s own role as creator/sustainer of all things.

When the dust settles, Job is thoroughly humbled. No longer does he call God to account. No more does he shake his fist in defiant challenge. He admits he had no clue what he was talking about. God never tipped his hand to Job as to the reasons for Job’s pain and suffering. And he rarely does with us either. At times, our cluelessness about our predicament can give rise to anger, resentment and their air of spiritual pride that says, “Who are you to allow this into my life, God? I don’t deserve this. You’ve got the wrong guy!”

But right along with Job, we need to remember who’s God and who’s not (that’s us). We need to remember that God’s not obligated to give us answers. In reality he gives us something better: himself. He offers a deeper relationship with him and sustaining grace through the midst of our pain. It’s not easy to be humbled by God, but being fashioned into God’s image was never promised to be easy.

Be willing to let God humble you today. Take a few moments to ask him how your thinking about him or your circumstances might be wrong. Ask him to reveal the blind spots in your spiritual life. Be willing to admit when you’re wrong or when you’ve sinned. Repentance was the only balm that could bring healing to Job and it will do the same for you and I.


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