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.”