Focal passage: Job 42:1-11
2020 was a year of uncertainty. A pandemic sent nearly everyone into fear. I remember it so vividly. No longer could I hug loved ones, let alone be in their presence, for fear of transmitting COVID-19. Friends and family contracted the virus. Many survived, but some died. Still others lost their jobs or had to change professions. We rarely knew what the next day would bring.
The disguised blessing of uncertainty, however, is that it causes us to turn to the only constant we know: God. We don’t know how much we need God until all we have is stripped from us. Many learned this lesson in 2020. Similarly, Job learned this through the loss of family, possessions and health. Like those who survived 2020, Job learned that dependence on God is tested most during times of uncertainty.
When God finished speaking to Job, Job confessed dependence on God through admitting He is all-powerful (Job 42:2) and all-wise (42:3). Job thus acknowledged his inability to understand and asked God to enlighten him (42:4). As Job confessed his inferiority, he repented (42:5-6). Not only did Job admit his dependence on God and repent, but so did his friends. When God rebuked Job’s friends (42:7-8), they responded with repentance, offering sacrifices in obedience to God’s command (42:8-9). Consequently, Job learned that restoration comes through prayer, confession and repentance of sin, as God restored Job’s fortunes by granting him twice as much as he lost (42:10-11).
Just as Job’s faith was tested during uncertainty, so also our faith is tested today. Whether through a pandemic or normalcy, when our faith is tested, we learn to depend on God. Through trials, God leads us to confession and repentance, which eventually leads to restoration, as “the tested genuineness of our faith … [will] be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7). Therefore, like Job, we must remain steadfast under trial (James 5:11), and after we have suffered, the God of all grace “will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish [us]” (1 Peter 5:10).