Recently, I re-read the Book of Job. It is the story of a man who had what might be considered the perfect family and the perfect job. His vast wealth and his health made friends and neighbors envious. He also had a deep faith in God.
But in a matter of days, everything he had was stripped away from him. Everything except his faith.
He lost his children in a tragic event. He lost his land and livestock. He lost his health.
Everything was gone. Well, everything but that faith of his. And that seemed to be slipping away as well.
As I read through the difficult chapters detailing his emotions and the pitiful advice that his so-called friends were giving him, I couldn't help but wonder how those dark days changed the way he related to God.
For years, Job's prayers had been prayers of thanksgiving. You know..."Thank you God for my wife. For my kids. For blessing us all with great health. For providing for us. For giving me great influence in my community. For being so great to us." Those kinds of prayers.
Then, in an instant, all of those expressions of God's goodness were gone. There seemed to be nothing left for which Job could say, "Thanks." He had nothing.
Then I read this:
I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. Job 42:5
Sometimes, we have to fall, fail, and nearly waste away before we see God as He is. In times of success and blessing, we are often content to know God from a distance. We repeat cliches, recite fun little proverbs, and sing kids' Bible songs. I suppose those all have their places. But when we have nothing left, we need more. We long for more than knowledge. We want to see Him.
And that's when it gets real.
I don't know that Job was ever thankful for his losses. But I do know that it was in the loss that Job saw God's face. And that was a reason to be thankful.