Some times they are the most insignificant of events that grip us in the mundane routine of life.
Or at least mine was this year at Wheaton. At the end of the year I went to a free ballet based on the story of Job. On a whim mostly, just to procrastinate exam studying a little more. Graceful limbs twirled and contorted to the modern interpretation of the story of a good man who lost everything.
As I sat in the darkened theater, the same quiver of indignation for Job I had as a little girl bubbled up within me. Job did everything right. I could understand, begrudgingly, hardship in my own year at Wheaton. I was hardly “blameless and upright,” nor did I have an abundance of Thunderbucks and financial aid that bespoke God’s favor.
But Job was different. Didn’t even God and Satan point him out? How then could God allow such suffering to such a faithful follower? And if He treated such exemplary figures like this, what hope was there for me? I struggled in the age old debate that pits God’s sovereignty against His goodness. Stewing in my seat, the amplified thunder claps slashed through the speakers, announcing God’s response to Job’s lament and blame.
“Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you and you shall answer me.” (Job: 38:2-3)
I felt my pointed finger shrivel and dig a quiet grave deep into my pocket.
“…do you condemn me to justify yourself?” (Job 40:8)
I felt ashamed. This year had been hard. Transferring as a sophomore from an awesome freshman experience at another Christian liberal arts school, I had followed God’s call to Wheaton only to feel incredibly let down. I had experienced loneliness, confusion, bitterness, and the most frigid winter of my life. I felt like I had lost everything I had gained the previous year: my friends, my mentor, my community, and my spiritual growth.
After the ballet let out, and I walked blindly back to my dorm room in the misty night. Digging out my Bible I opened to the first chapter of Job, after he had lost everything.
“At this Job tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship…” (Job 1:20)
Suddenly I was back in my bathroom at the beginning of the year, the air vent in full roar as I cried out to God in my fear and loneliness. He repeated to me now what He said then, with the lyrics to a Matt Redman song:
“You give and take away…My heart will choose to say…Lord blessed be Your name.”
I was floored. After an entire year of, what I saw as failure, He chucked my chin and asked me the same question:
“Will you still bless my name?”
Never mind there was only a week of school left, I took one from Job: ‘Then she fell to the ground in worship.’