Have you ever got to the point when you just stop and cry “I give up, God! I submit to you – Your will be done.”?
It is at this point, when we stop railing against him, accusing him or simply stop trying to do it all ourselves, that we can grow in depth of our life with God.
And this is where Job gets to in the final chapter of the book – a realisation of who God is, a submission to him, and a willingness to see him:
I know that you can do all things and no purpose of yours can be thwarted… My ears had heard of you, but now I have seen you!” (Job 42:1,5)
Job is no longer looking for an answer of why – he even repents of the fact that he came close to accusing God in the first place. He is now content in the presence of God. Note that his situation hadn’t, at that moment, changed, yet he had become content. Soon he will be restored to health, position, status and prosperity, even greater than he had before.
Job is restored without explanation. His suffering is never explained and his restoration is never explained. But is interesting that this comes after a wholehearted submission to God. I’ve found that only when I truly let go and stop trying to think of ways to fix the situation, and put it entirely in Gods hands, this is when he speaks and acts. Perhaps this has more to do with my willingness to see what God is doing and submit to it, rather than with his willingness to act.
Two years ago just after fertility treatment for a second child had failed at the same time as doors had closed on various job openings for my wife, it had seemed like she’d run out of all the preferable alternatives for what to do with her life. At about that time, I remember a particularly honest prayer conversation. “God, We don’t know what you are doing, but whatever it is, show us the way!”. Within a month we’d found we were pregnant naturally.
It hasn’t always worked out like that, but it has usually resulted in a greater peace with God.
So, Job is restored. It’s a reminder that evil doesn’t’ triumph in the end. We may not be restored or vindicated in this lifetime, but we have a God whose Son went to the cross and came through death, demonstrating that, one way or another, evil and suffering will not have the last laugh.