Though He Slay Me

Though He slay me. What powerful words Job speaks in Job 13:15. Who says this kind of thing?! What codependent weakling still proclaims trust in the one who orchestrates his death?! Though God stabs me in the back, still I will trust Him?!

This is exactly what Job models for us, and it is what God clearly preserves in His Word for our instruction—trusting God even when He stabs us in the back. Receiving it not as betrayal – “Et tu, Brute?!” – but receiving it in faith, with trust.

Suffering purifies our faith …

1 Peter 1:7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

… and no one in Scripture evidences a faith that is purer than Job’s in the moment that he utters that famous phrase. When every piece of life in which he could trust was stripped away, along with every view of God that makes Him about us and our comfort, Job STILL. HAD. FAITH.

He gives and takes away, says Job. Blessed be the name of God. Anyone who has suffered deeply recognizes this moment in their journey. When you realize that God really is going to let your worst fears be realized. It really is going to be as bad as you imagined, or maybe actually worse. And you choose faith. You do not turn away from Him. You even praise Him in the midst of the pain. Those who have been there tell me that their choice seemed to be made for them. Where else could they go, as Peter says in John 6? Only Jesus has the words of life.

Consider Mary running to Jesus knowing that He could have healed Lazarus before he died. Consider Jesus too, who deliberately stayed away from Mary until after Lazarus died knowing that He was compounding their grief, even weeping with them Himself in their distress. Yet He did so to show something more wonderful about Himself than anything any of His disciples had experienced thus far. There was a joy on the other side of their suffering, but they had to walk through it to get there.

Sometimes it feels like God walks up and stabs me in the back. He doesn’t do what I know He could do. He doesn’t do the things that I want Him to do, things that I know from His Word He too should want. Why does He instruct me to want His kingdom to come and His will to be done and then seem to hold His hand when I ask for those things in my own life? Job’s words echo again and again in my heart. Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him. These words are deeply relevant in that moment of suffering when you understand that He is indeed going to allow your child to die, your husband to leave, or your world to fall apart.

Most of all, Job’s words echo in Jesus’ in the garden of Gethsemane. Though You slay me, Jesus says, yet will I trust in You. In that bleakest moment of suffering when we are faced with our God allowing our worst fears to come true, we are joined by the Man of Sorrows, His Son, well acquainted with grief. Jesus models for us endurance in suffering. More importantly His perfect suffering made the way for our own suffering to have redemptive purpose. He endured the cross and despised its shame for the joy set before him (Hebrews 12:2). This too is our calling in suffering. Oddly enough, it is also our empowerment in such suffering. Even when it seems that God stabs us in the back, there is joy to be had in the distance, in relationship with the very One who slays us.

Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. 

Hebrews 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 

Matthew 26:39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

10 Responses to Though He Slay Me

  1. Jennifer October 14, 2013 at 4:35 am #

    Your posts often get me thinking – thank you for that.

    The verse in Job that stops me is Job 3:25 What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me.

    To me, that verse reminds me that the things I fear (that I have not given over to the Lord) become footholds for Satan. It is hard to understand, but could that be the reason that God told Satan yes, that he coudl go after Job? There was an area that Job had not given God control of… so Satan could get at it. That is where it hits me.

    Makes the verse you focused on powerful too – God allowed the suffering in the areas that still needed refining, restoring, renewal. And Job remained. He trusted. He was willing to see, to listen, to learn, and to give it over. May I be so faithful to my own faith.

  2. Wendy October 14, 2013 at 5:25 am #

    The main reason God allowed the things that happened to Job were for the testimony of God's worth in the heavenly realm. We often think of having faithful testimonies in front of others on earth. But Job teaches us that even if no one on earth recognizes our faith, that the heavenly realm sees it in ways that silence Satan's accusations against the worth of God.

  3. Lady E. October 14, 2013 at 7:21 am #

    Thank you. My heart needs this. I have been angry with God at points, but learning to surrender and trust Him in the midst of suffering knowing that He ultimately does work all things for good.

  4. Anonymous October 14, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

    so very hard to grasp …

    so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. John 14:31a

    but the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, and the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand. As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities. Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, and He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors. Isa 53 10 -12

    and I show you a still more excellent way. 1 Cor 12:31b

  5. Anne October 14, 2013 at 2:53 pm #

    Thank you for posting about suffering. I want to grow in my understanding of how God uses this in my life.
    I come away from this thinking that we can get through suffering if we just hang onto the belief that out the other end, things will be made right (the joy set before me). But I want to believe that in the actual suffering itself God gives us a piece of himself, a new vision of who he truly is, a most personal experience of his comfort and communion with me in my sorrow that makes me trust him and accept the suffering he brings. Can you speak to this, please? You touched on it when you mentioned Jesus weeping with Mary at the death of her brother, “He did so to show something more wonderful about Himself,” but then mentioned “the joy on the other side of their suffering.” I took that to mean Lazarus' resurrection. Is the outcome the only thing that reveals God to me? I seem to need more…

  6. Mary Knipp October 14, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

    Thank you!

  7. Anonymous October 14, 2013 at 3:00 pm #

    I do not know your musical leaning, but I found this song to be very poignant in its simplicity. Shane and Shane – Though You Slay Me…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qyUPz6_TciY

  8. Wendy October 14, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

    Oh, yes. There is much of God Himself to learn. And that is what I'm alluding to with the story of Lazarus. While there was joy in seeing Lazarus brought to life, the greater joy was that Jesus was God who could bring others to life, for that affects all of life for all people. Mary and Martha could hope now for their own lives, because Jesus showed Himself greater than death. Gifts of God in suffering are often gifts of clarity about Himself. Like the psalmist says in Psalm 63, His love is better than life, and His revelation of Himself is powerful in the midst of the suffering that gives Him the avenue to reveal it.

  9. Violet October 14, 2013 at 6:59 pm #

    “But Job teaches us that even if no one on earth recognizes our faith, that the heavenly realm sees it in ways that silence Satan's accusations against the worth of God.” Exactly! It may be our testimony on earth that has become more important to us than God's worth in both heaven and earth (speaking to myself here).

  10. Godsadventureroad November 9, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

    I disagree that God causes the suffering though I believe he allows it, uses it, and is glorified through it. Why would God cause it to reveal himself? Beelzebub comes to mind when Jesus asked how one can be divided amongst himself causing a man to be posseaed and then casting it out by the same spirit. Jesus said it is not so. I believe Satan does evil, with God's full knowledgee. There is a fundamental difference between God causing and God allowing evil in our lives!