Sometimes I want to be rescued. And by ‘sometimes’ I mean pretty much at some point everyday.
Rescued from the alarm clock. The carpool lane. The grocery list. The bills to pay. The children needing, needing, needing me. The dinner hour. A lousy blind date.
Rescued from loneliness. Fear. Worry. The everyday mess of all this. The questions I don’t know how to answer.
The way it plays out in my mind, the whole story starts with a meeting of attendance of the angels before God. Everybody here? Everyone accounted for? Ah, wait. There is darkness in the room, the sneaky oppression of deceptive beauty.
“Where have you come from?” I imagine God saying, this is a closed meeting, Satan. You’re not invited to this Exective Board Room.
And Satan says, “Oh, I’ve just come from roaming around the earth.” That right there is the stuff horror films are made of: Satan and his minions trolling the earth, looking for trouble to cause, hearts to break, and lives to destroy.
I want God to respond by saying, “Stay away from my kids, Satan. Back up. There’s no room for you here, and you cannot take them from my hand, so don’t even try.” But he doesn’t say that.
No, instead, God directs Satan’s attention to one of his most faithful servants. I like to imagine God pulling out his wallet of family photos, letting the plastic frames unfold to the floor.
“Ah, there he is, there’s Job. My goodness, he is among the finest. There’s nobody like him! He is blameless, upright, he obeys me, and he certainly runs away from you, Satan.”
“Ha!” Satan replies in my mind’s dialogue. “You bought his favor! You’re like the long distance grandparent who spoils his favorite grandchild. Who wouldn’t love you with all of those benefits you’ve lavished on him? House, flocks, herds, family, money – I would be willing to bet that if you take away everything he has, he won’t be quite so faithful to you. I believe he would curse you to your face.”
“Very well,” God says, “he is yours. Give it your best shot.”
And Satan is set free on a path of destruction, and nobody can destroy quite as thoroughly as the Prince of Evil. Sure enough, he takes everything that belongs to Job. Everything. But it doesn’t work – Satan can’t get Job to curse the name of God. Oh, but he does not give up!
Satan negotiates with God repeatedly, asking him to change the rules. He wants to cause even greater pain, loss, questions and doubt in Job’s life. He’s out for blood – literally.
I think the verses in Job 19 are some of the most important in the entire book. Job is taking the heat from Satan and the unwarranted advice from his friends.
Sidenote: My compliments and appreciation to Job’s friends, who – for one week – sat quietly with their friend. They cried with him, sat with him, and didn’t say a word. Later, wisdom seems to elude them. They open their mouths, and everything changes. Having been in a place of utter desolation, I need to say that this is one of the most gracious gifts you can give to someone in their darkest hour. Your sympathy, companionship, presence, and silence. Don’t talk; just be.
In chapter 19, verses 23-27, Job says something like this (and I paraphrase):
Oh, if only there were some way to write down my words so you could see them and never forget them. I want them written down forever, even as tattoos on your hands.
For I know that my Redeemer lives.
He tells them, “Listen, guys, when this is all over with, you’ll see – and I will too – that my God is real, he is here, and he has loved me all this time. He will rescue me. I cannot wait another day, but I will. Because I know that I know.”
I read those words, and I want to raise my coffee cup to Job right now – Yes! Yes, Job! I know that my Redeemer lives, and someday I will see him. I – and everyone else – will see that he is real, he is here, and he has loved me all this time.
He is coming to rescue me. I cannot wait another day, but I will. Because I know that I know.