Christian Fatalism?

Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised. - Job 1:21

I love this verse in the Bible, but for a long time now I wondered if Job's attitude was more of a believer's fatalism than anything. I mean it seems to me like he is throwing up his hands here and saying, "Oh well...who can resist Him? Who can stand against His will?" And that is partly the point of the verse I am sure. This is a high picture of God and one that I am not altogether comfortable with. But God couldn't care less about a comfort sourced in anything but Him and He is not interested in presenting a picture of Himself that is the least bit not true. And I am thankful that He isn't interested in either thing, but I am digressing a bit here.

So what of Job's attitude? This morning as I was rummaging around for some bread in the lazy Susan I was struck by the last bit of the verse, namely, "...may the name of the Lord be praised." The focus that Job brought to his calamitous situation wasn't that God took away a bunch of his stuff. He probably knew it wasn't his anyway. Nor was his focus that evil people (the Chaldeans) were the ones responsible for taking all of camels and killing all but one of his servants. Maybe there was some righteous anger in his heart and mind but we don't see it here. His focus was on praising God's name.

Job had this rather "stupid" idea that no matter what God did he was to trumpet to me that God is to be praised. He even realized that that it was God (not evil men, not the weather, not Satan) that took away everything he owned leaving a rather unhelpful wife and His name was still to be praised. Did Job see this as a loving act of a loving God? I am not sure, but I need that focus in the midst of my struggles. How different would it be if I were to lose my right arm and truly have this in my heart in the midst of it? How unnatural and "new-creationy" would that be? I know it is fine for me to mourn, grieve, pine, and celebrate what was given and then taken from me but I can't stay there long. Soon, sooner than my flesh would like, I need to embrace my purpose for existing in the first place - to praise the name of God.

Righteous Job - what a picture you are of who I want to be. Righteous God - there is no life apart from You is there?


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