How would you like to be famous for tragedy?
What if your claim to fame was how much catastrophe you had endured? Few of us hope to make the Guinness Book for greatest number of horrific tragedies within a 24-hour period.
But that 's what we think of when we hear the name Job.
It's too bad, really. From all accounts, he was a fantastic guy. Town benefactor and beloved father of a dozen. (The wife was a little on the witchy side, but that just made everyone respect him all the more.)
So what happened?
He caught Satan's attention.
We need to be aware of the three things in Job's life that brought such unwanted attention, because if we follow his example, we are primed for it too.
1. First, he had the favor of God.
God's favor is a lavish feast. He loves to shower it on the ones who love him back. Despite what has been taught by many, God is not an grouchy ogre with morning breath. He is a loving Father, delighted with his children's attempts to love him back. He can't wait to catch them when they fall down, coach them to get better at it, and cheer every attempt. Job's righteous lifestyle had caught God's attention and God poured out blessing on him.
But it also caught Satan's attention and he set out to destroy it.
If you are seeking God's will in everything, following him with all you have, and are experiencing the favor of God, look over your shoulder. Someone else has noticed and will do whatever he can to knock the blessing out of you.
2. Job also had influence.
He was a well-respected leader and others looked to him for advice and example. When we are in positions of influence, Satan sharpens his claws. He knows that by defeating us, he can also take out a plethora of others who look to us as a source of wisdom.
If you are in a place of influence--whether family, church, community or nation--you are a target of your enemy. It should not catch us by surprise when the big ones fall. Satan has spent extra attention setting snares for them because he loves the domino effect. If he can get to Dad, the kids come too. If he can get the pastor, the church splits. He goes for those who have earned a sphere of influence, so if that's you, tighten your armor.
3. Job thought he understood God.
As many of us do, he had settled into a sortof give-and-take with the Almighty that he thought would continue to infinity. We like contracts. We like lists that show us exactly what we can expect for the money.
We do that with God, too. The problem is that God is not into contracts and lists. He is God. Period. He can do whatever He wants to and it's still right. We get ourselves into trouble when we begin to expect that God owes us something because of our list-keeping.
Understanding God is not the same as trusting God. Understanding insists that God explain himself to my satisfaction. Trusting takes him at his word and believes that no matter what my circumstances may look like, God is good and he loves me.
When we set our sights on pleasing God, we can expect to become a target of our enemy. It just goes with the territory. God's protection is sufficient. God's plan is best, but it can take us through some pretty rocky ground where it doesn't appear that God is for us.
If you've lived for God the best you know how and you are going through unprecedented tragedy, take a deep breath and look at Job. You're in good company. God never forgot him for a moment.
He hasn't forgotten you either.