The Faith of Job

Several years ago I had the sad task of burying a forty-seven year old man. Bobby, a faithful member of my congregation and a personal friend, was also a beloved teacher and track coach at our high school. One afternoon at a track meet, he fell to the ground and died. The autopsy revealed that Bobby died of a rare heart disorder that killed him instantly and without warning. Bobby’s wife Jayne, although she was only forty-four years old, was now a widow with two sons at home.

Several months after Bobby’s funeral, Jayne came by the church office to see me. During the conversation Jayne said: “Martin, I’m guess I’m not a very good Christian. In spite of my prayers and faith, I can’t seem to overcome my grief and get on with my life. Worse than that, I feel angry. Angry at Bobby for leaving me. Angry at his doctor for not knowing about his heart disorder. And although I’m ashamed to admit it, I feel anger towards God.” She continued: “The other night I tried to pray, but the more I prayed the madder I got. I ended up screaming at God. It scared me. At that point I decided to come and talk with you.”

Jayne confessed that she sometimes wondered if God really cared about her. Once, on a particularly bad day, she wondered if God even existed. But then she quickly added, “Oh, I have faith in God, I really do. I couldn’t have gotten this far without God. But my faith is so weak these days.” Then Jayne said, “I wish I had the faith of Job.” I smiled at her and said, “Jayne, you do have the faith of Job.”

Many of us have the idea that Job never struggled with his faith, that his faith was always strong. The book of Job does tell stories of Job’s resilient faith. However, that’s not the whole story. Job’s faith, like our faith, questioned, struggled, and vacillated between belief and disbelief. Job believed, then Job doubted. At times Job felt comforted by God, at other times he felt abandoned by God. And at times, Job got angry at God.

So if you ever struggle with your faith, know that you are in good company. In fact, if you struggle with your faith, you have the faith of Job!