I may need a little help with this one. I opened the Bible to Job, read this passage, and then read the next several chapters, trying to discern where God was directing me, and I ended up right back at this passage. So here goes.
The LORD said to the satan, “Where have you been?” Then the satan answered the LORD and said, “Roaming the earth and patrolling it.” The LORD said to the satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him, blameless and upright, fearing God and avoiding evil.” The satan answered the LORD and said, “Is it for nothing that Job is God-fearing? Have you not surrounded him and his family and all that he has with your protection? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his livestock are spread over the land. But now put forth your hand and touch all that he has, and surely he will curse you to your face.” The LORD said to the satan, “Very well, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on him.” So the satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.
After this passage Job is tested and initially passes. When bad things happen he still worships God stating:
“Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I go back there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD!”
But eventually the trials seem to get too much and he cries out to God and seems to lash out at God.
Like Job, it is easy to worship God and be good and upright when things are going well, when we feel surrounded by God’s protection. The trouble often comes when things are not going well. When satan gets his hand in the mix. Loving someone, loving God, requires us to be loving and faithful even when things do not go our way. We cannot act like the child who says “I’ll be your best friend… but only if you do this for me.” That’s not love. That’s selfishness to get what we want.
Today, we refer to the patience of Job, but Job, the supposed model of patience, was not patient for very long. So maybe it is ok that we aren’t always patient either. The key is Job does turn back to God, even after lashing out.
Help me to show true love. Call me back when I fall away. Lead me not into temptation. And if it comes, deliver me from evil.