Receive the good only?

Job, on being sore afflicted, rebukes his wife in Chapter 2:

9Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” 10But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

The lesson here is one for all the ages. God is good, God is just, and God loves us. This does not mean that God is not also the author of that which we may call “evil.” God created Satan, the accuser,the prince of lies, just as surely as He created us. The Book of Job gives ample testimony to this seeming contradiction.

Rare is the man who can accept with equanimity the bad along with the good. Who, having received setbacks in his life, hasn’t at least thought to question God’s wisdom, or shouted, if only with our inner voices, “Why me, oh Lord?” Or, as Job’s wife suggests, “curse God.” Which would result in Job’s spiritual death.

Job is a difficult book, not least because of the suspicion that it was redacted to provide a happy ending for Job. Which those of us with a cynical bent are suspicious of. Too pat. In the world of the “real”, Job would be left in misery; proving yet again that nice guys finish last.

That is, using “real” to mean the secular world. In the world that abides with Christ, we should have learned that sometimes suffering itself is the reward, the fire that purifies our faith as we suffer as our savior suffered. This is not the gospel of prosperity, of God always rewarding those who are faithful to Him with bigger and better worldly things. This is the gospel of the Cross. Without the Cross, there is no crown, no heaven.

This may be the more relevant lesson from Job.

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