“Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.”
Hope is hard for narcissists like us. Oh, I don’t mean the kind of hope that expects God will safely tuck us away in His pocket while others suffer misfortune. The less said about that phony hope the better. I mean the hope that entrusts all to God when everything is falling apart and prospects are dim – on a good day.
Any sober reading of the Bible will see that the polished God on the pedestal who delivers the goods here and now, is largely a fiction. The God we meet in the bible is a deliverer all right, but His methods often, quite often, bring those who trust Him right to the brink of catastrophe and sometimes beyond. This accounts for some of the problems we have when we encounter this God in the Bible.This God brings down and raises up. He kills and makes alive.This God forgives the unrighteous and blasts the religious with withering words of judgment. This God sent His own Son and lead him all the way to suffering and death. There is a grittiness to this God, a refusal to be in any kind of denial about the mess He confronts in this world.
The book of Job is among the greatest literary accomplishments in human history. For it looks at God and the suffering of the faithful with the clarity and harshness of a Klieg light. Job cuts right to the chase. “I’ll hope in Him even if He kills me.” These are the words of a faith so raw and so real, one can only marvel and remember Jesus words when he said, “When the Son of Man comes will He find faith on the earth?”
The true sign of Christian hope is not in the winning (as we variously define it) but in the losing, in the tears, sack cloth and ashes when we are caught in the crucible of God’s judgment and mercy. Faith in God is just that, faith in God. It is to entrust one’s life to God no matter what, without expectations. Job’s last and only hope after all, as his world crumbled around him, was the God who permitted it all to happen.
“May the peace of god that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”