About fifteen years ago, when my two oldest children were toddlers, a violent windstorm swept through our neighborhood while my husband was at work. I recall looking through our large picture window as it rattled in its frame, seeing nothing but an opaque mass of swirling gray mixed with hailstones and bits of debris.
I was sure that the window would implode at any second.
In that moment, my focused narrowed to one thought, and one thought only: the safety of my children. I picked up my daughter and grabbed my son by the hand, and we ran from our living room to our bathroom and climbed into the tub. Because our ranch-style home lacked a basement, that windowless room was the safest place we could go, and we huddled there until the storm passed.
Fortunately, my worst fears did not come to pass, and our home suffered only a bit of hail damage. But I’ve never forgotten the intensity of my feelings for my children at that moment. All else in the world fell away, and their safety was all that mattered to me.
As I read Job 1 this week, I wondered how Job must have felt as he received news of one disaster after another.
First, his vast herds of oxen and donkeys were stolen by enemies, and the servants who tended them were slaughtered, except for the one who delivered the news.
Then, fire fell from the sky and burned his herds of sheep and the shepherds who tended them – once again, save one.
While all this happened, bands of thieves stole his camels and killed all but one of the servants tending them.
As Job received reports of his animals and servants slain, I wonder if he said to himself at some point, If my children are safe, I can withstand all this.
After all, Scripture indicates that Job was deeply devoted to his children. God calls Job “perfect and upright” (Job 1:1), and the only indicator of Job’s godliness specifically mentioned in Job 1 was his concern that his seven sons and three daughters maintained a right relationship with God.
And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually. – Job 1:5
Job knew what truly mattered.
I can imagine, then, how the final piece of terrible news he received that day must have crushed him.
While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house: And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. – Job 1:18-19
In one swift blow, Satan took all ten of Job’s precious children.
And Job – well, he did as a perfect man would. He humbled himself, and worshiped God.
And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolish. – Job 1:21-22
What an amazing father Job was! First, he focused on his own relationship with God, becoming rooted and grounded in his faith.
That faith enabled him to focus on what mattered in his relationship with his children: their own relationship with God.
And when his children were taken from him, his faith still remained.
What touches your heart about Job’s story? I would love to hear from you.