“Gird up your loins like a man; I will question you and you declare to me. Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be justified?” Job 40:7-8.
One of my favorite lines of Scripture is when God tells Job to “gird up his loins” as the Lord begins to speak to Job. I have this image of a frail Job covered in ashes with clothes that no longer fit from the months of anguish and depression he has battled, when suddenly God appears in a windstorm telling Job to pull up his britches and hold on…
God’s pastoral care from the whirldwind seems more like a drill sergeant than grandmotherly comfort. He calls Job to attention and then blasts him with the Truth. God is in control of our lives. He has been active in the beginning, he is active still and he will continue to be active in our lives forever; so, we better hold onto our pants because it is going to be bumpy ride.
I believe we misunderstand Job’s story if we imagine Job happily praising God after the tragedy that befell him and the response from the whirlwind. The end of Job never mentions Job’s reverence or worship of God like the opening does. Job’s life was radically altered by God; their relationship was forever changed. For the remaining years, Job had to have carried the scars of a failed marriage, the untimely death of his children, the loss of his fortune, and his own physical abnormalities.
But what changed for Job? Job saw God; he realized that God was with him through all the pain. Job sees that God is not always in the business of removing our pain, but is in the business of walking alongside us through it.
It says in Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.
Have we domesticated God too much that we forget to gird up our loins when we come before him? How can we see God in the midst of our own pain? Who is someone that you might walk alongside to support, encourage and pray for?