Today’s reading is Job 42.
There’s a centuries-old long-standing tradition in Japan called “Kintsukuroi”, or “golden repair”, that pertains to broken pottery. When a cup, bowl, vase, or other piece of pottery breaks into pieces, a craftsman will repair it by mending those pieces back together with a lacquer filled with golden powder. This results in a piece of pottery similar to the original, but covered in beautiful streaks of gold. This is done not only for practical repairs, but to highlight how something broken can retain its worth and usefulness, even taking on new beauty as its past flaws and damage are appreciated in a new light, and ultimately being more lovely than before.
Throughout the chapter of Job, we’ve seen one of God’s most faithful servants enduring overwhelming hardship and sorrow, fighting with anger at God and questioning his motives. We see his friends attempting to get Job to confess to whatever sins he committed to displease God and cast this fate upon himself. But after listening patiently for the Lord and learning to accept His will no matter what, Job finally realizes his need for repentance in this passage. He comes to God, admitting: “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted”. Even after all the suffering he has endured, Job admits first and foremost that God is all-powerful and just, no matter what happens to him. And when he finally repents in this way, the Lord restores his lost fortunes to nearly double what he had lost.
Losing sight of God’s control tends to bring about a lot of questions. It’s easy to question how sovereign the Lord is or how good His plan is whenever difficulties present themselves: “Why would God let this happen to me?” “Is God punishing me for something I did?” “How am I responsible for this?” Even Job, about whom the Lord himself says “there is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil,” had to endure great suffering at Satan’s hands. And even then, after facing similar questions yet ultimately holding fast to his faith, Job knows and proclaims that the Lord alone knows what is right.
When difficult times overtake our lives, it’s easy to feel attacked or abandoned by God. People often pray for complete avoidance of all trials and perfect, blameless lives, then feel let down when they experience harsh realities instead. But unfortunately, we live in a world enraptured by sin, where bad things happen to both bad and good people alike. We can think of ourselves as righteous believers whom God is punishing and become angry or confused with Him, but the truth is all of us live in a fallen world where all people must deal with the consequences of humanity’s sinful nature. Let’s face it, we’ll never know for sure why He allows these bad things to happen: some things are just too infinite and complex for us to comprehend.
But as Romans 8:28 tells us, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” We can rest assured that no matter what comes our way, God is working in our favor always. We know God uses our worst hardships and trials every day to create beautiful moments pointing towards His love and redemption. We become broken, imperfect, destroyed by sin, left tainted and worthless; mere pieces of God’s image of us. But in our struggles, when we proclaim that God is in control and He is righteous and just, He will take care of us and help us heal. Only in Him can our broken pieces, shattered and left imperfect by a sinful world, be mended into a beautiful reminder of how God will always make us whole. Job goes from a lowly sinner, ravaged by death and fire and illness, into a blessed and wealthy upright family leader. But his restoration to former wealth and beyond is not the focus; God could have rewarded Job with no earthly gifts and the ultimate reward of eternity with Him would be the same. And when we too surrender all control to God in our times of questioning and anger and sin, he repairs us and makes us whole, gifting us eternity by His side. We go from shattered remnants to beautiful vessels, yearning to be filled with the Holy Spirit. So when trouble comes your way, big or small, remember that God has a perfect plan that He is putting into action right now, where he will carry your through your toughest times and make you whole again in Him.
– Ross B.