Midst of the Ashes

Job_Heading“And (Job) took for himself a potsherd with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes.” (Job 2:8)

Job lost his oxen and donkeys and servants tending them. Job lost his sheep and the servants tending them. Job lost his camels and the servants tending them. Job lost all ten of his children. Job tore his robe. Job shaved his head. Job fell to the ground and worshiped while crafting an image of faith unequaled: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (1:20-21)

Job lost his health. His wife remained, not a comfort, but a thorn, and said, “Curse God and die.” But Job responded, “Shall we accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” (2:9-10)

Job suffered. Job crafting an image of this fallen world unequaled said, “May the day perish on which I was born…” (3:3) He added, “For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me.” (3:25)

Job did not understand. “Cause me to understand wherein I have erred.” (6:24) “Have I sinned? What have I done to You, O watcher of men?” (7:20)

Job was angry. Of God, he says, “He crushes me with a tempest, and multiplies my wounds without cause.” (9:17)

Job was frustrated. Of his supposed friends, he says, “No doubt you are the people, and wisdom will die with you…“You are all worthless physicians.” (12:2; 13:4)

Job briefly rallies. “Though He slays me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him. He also shall be my salvation…” (13:15-16)

Job reflects on the brevity of life. “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He comes forth like a flower and fades away…” (14:1-2)

Job acknowledges the boundaries of life. “Since (man’s) days are determined, the number of his months is with You; You have appointed his limits, so that he cannot pass.” (14:5)

Job blames God for his present lot in life. “I was at ease, but He has shattered me…” (16:12)

Job stands up; Job mans up: “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God.” (19:25-26) and “He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.” (23:10)

And so goes the life of Job in the land of Uz centuries past. We observe him on top of the world and the bottom of the world, much of which took place in the midst of the ashes. We see him suffering, confused, angry, frustrated, hopeful, reflective, realistic, wrong and right. Job was a man of faith; a faith that was rewarded, battered, tested, and finally made as gold.

Can we relate? We may point out Job’s experiences were far more extreme than our own. Yet our life experiences are still owned by us and ultimately require the same measure of faith in God if we are to live full and abundant lives as well. Like God’s servant, Job, faith does not always come to us or grow within us because all is good with us. Faith will also come to us and grow within us in the midst of the ashes.

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