Waking up from surgery comes slowly. At first you hear voices chit-chatting, but it seems like conversations you hear when waking from a nap on the beach. It’s just background noise, not strong enough to rouse you from your sleep. Then some jarring word catches you as your being rolled into recovery, a word like “partial gastrectomy,” in my case, and you think “Oh. I’m hearing voices. My surgery must be over. My surgery is over! What did they do to me? I think I better wake up.”
Waking up was quite alarming to be honest, but surgery was successful, and an answer to many prayers. The following three days were hard, as I was in that zone where doing something like sitting up to take a sip of water is exhausting, not just because of pain, but also because of nausea and dizziness every time I moved, or did something like- you know, look at an object. So those days were a blur. We had only intended for my husband stay the night with me the first night, but he stayed for three, and deserves a medal for keeping company with a person who couldn’t speak more than two sentences at a time for three days, in a tiny corner room with no window.
But, day four came. It had its challenges, but the worst had passed, and to my satisfaction they moved me to a room with a window. My husband could go home to see our kids, and my head was finally clear enough to look at my bible. I decided to turn to the last chapter of Job, and it was one of those moments where you think maybe your bible will start glowing or something, because every word is impacting your heart in the best possible way.
I have spent time in the book of Job, but somehow, the shock of those final words had never reached me that way before. After Job recognizes that God’s wisdom, power, and sovereignty, are beyond his comprehension, after Job clasps his hands over his mouth and repents, and after God rebukes Job’s friends, and works restoration- then there is this synopsis of what happened to Job next:
“And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and ate bread with him in his house. And they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him. And each of them gave him a piece of money and a ring of gold.
And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. And he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. He had also seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first daughter Jemimah, and the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-happuch. And in all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters. And their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers. And after this Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, four generations. And Job died, an old man, and full of days.”
Before this chapter comes along, you are looking at a man undone. He has lost homes, crops, workers, children, health, and reputation. He is tormented by “comforters” who are bent on criticizing him as the reason for his own misfortunes. His own wife has asked him why he still clings to his integrity, and doesn’t instead, curse God and die.
Everything and everyone is pressing in and pushing down on this man, and even his strong, steady faith has been shaken to the core. Could a person that low, a person found sitting among the ashes of what was once his life, scraping his sores with broken glass, ever imagine that the vindication and restoration of God was coming? That he would see the goodness of God again in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13)?
Job 17:11, Job 19:10 “My days are past; my plans are broken off, the desires of my heart… He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone, and my hope has He pulled up like a tree.”
I am done. It is over. I am ruined. These things were often the sentiment of Job, though He kept on searching for the God who seemed so far away, and kept on pleading before Him.
Job 17:13-16 “If I hope for Sheol as my house, if I make my bed in darkness, if I say to the pit, ‘You are my father,’ and to the worm, ‘My mother,’ or ‘My sister,’ where then is my hope? Who will see my hope? Will it go down to the bars of Sheol? Shall we descend together into the dust?”
What am I going to do with my hope? Is there nothing left for me in this life? Is the grave my best wish? And what will be remembered, and said then about my hope? “This man’s only hope was death. He came from dust, and to dust he returned.” Is that it? Is it over?
Don’t these earlier verses make the last chapter of Job shine like a beacon of light over the wildest seas?
“And after this Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, four generations. And Job died, an old man, and full of days.”
He had 140 more years left folks. He had generations of children, and children’s children’s children to see. He died an old man, full of days.
It’s just a simple message really, that encouraged me that morning. Basically, that I don’t know what God has in store for my life. I don’t think God owes me anything, and He can get glory from my life in sickness, or in health, in want, or in plenty. He can do whatever He wants, and I don’t need Him to prove anything more to me. That’s the beauty of holding the entire bible in my hand, and the strength of having Jesus who enables us to do anything- we have a lot more revelation at our fingertips than Job had, that is for certain. But still, this story clearly tells me God can turn our circumstances around in an instant if He wants to, and it is within His nature as a kind and generous Father to do that, if it seems best for us. He can restore what has been lost, and even in our loss, most importantly, He can restore us. Our hearts and our lives.
Our hope is heaven. We know a day is coming when God will wipe every tear from our eyes, and reward us for our faith in Him. So we have a hope that cannot fail. We can go into the grave naked and penniless, and still, our hope hasn’t failed. But when life is dark, it is good to remember, that God often shines a light sometime soon around the corner. It’s not prosperity preaching to believe that God intends to do good to His children. We have hope for this life, and the life to come.
1 Peter 5:10 “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
Psalm 27:13-14 “I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”