“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.” – Job 19:25
Of the many stories in the bible, Job’s life is undeniably one of the most difficult – a life marked with immense suffering. The book of Job begins by describing Job as an upright and holy man who feared God and turned away from evil. He had immeasurable wealth. As a father, he offered burnt offerings on behalf of his family to ensure that they blameless before the Lord. His life, and everything in it, was described as one that was righteous and pleasing to the Lord. Even though his life was abundant with blessings, he was foremost faithful to God because he knew that everything in His life was a direct provision from the Lord.
In the next few chapters, we see that Job suddenly loses everything of value to him – one after the other. Satan himself challenges God telling him that if he took everything away from Job, he would curse God and turn away from Him. In response, God tells Satan that Job is an upright man and that even if all of his possessions were taken away, he would still be faithful to Him. Throughout the book of Job, Job is stripped of everything that he loved, including his family and friends, servants, and possessions – everything. He is urged by his own wife to curse God. Even his friends accuse him of sinning against God to bring such curses upon him and his family. Through it all, Job is faithful to the Lord. Job repeats over and over again to everyone around him that the Lord is surely having His way in his life.
Job was righteous. Job was faithful. Job shunned evil.
So, why Job? Was it because he was a sinner? Was God punishing him?
No! Although Job was being tried and tested, he actually did not know that he was a chosen instrument to challenge the enemy. God trusted Job to bring Him glory through his response, which was continuous worship and trust in the Lord – even through his doubt and pain. In Job 19:25, Job responds to his friends, who are wrongfully accusing him of wickedness, with a powerful proclamation of who God is – his Redeemer who lives! In this context, Job was telling his friends that it is the Lord who will redeem him. In verse 26, he declares that in his death he will see God for himself. And that will be his redemption. Even in the midst of being betrayed, accused, and stripped of everything that he possessed, Job responded by calling God his Redeemer!
Job’s response blows my mind. As human beings, we are so quick to look for understanding. So quick to look for an answer. So quick to look for vindication and retribution. We’re almost never okay with a “that’s the way it is” kind of answer. Although Job did not know why he was faced with such trials, he responded from a place of knowing who his Redeemer is. The truth is that sometimes we will not understand. Sometimes we will not get an answer. But all we can we do is trust that our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, has already won the battle. He has a made a way for our sins to be completely washed away. He has made a way for us to join the Father. He has a made a way for us to experience true freedom for eternity just as God has intended.
The reality is that we need to live each day with our eyes fixed on eternity, in order for us to live out this redemption everyday.
Jesus is our Redeemer. Better yet, Jesus is our Redeemer who lives! Even though we are now pressed and suffering, one day we will see Him face to face and be joined with Him for eternity. At the present however, He will have His way. There will be times where trials arise that are beyond our comprehension. Beyond our control. Although we might never get an explanation for the suffering in lives life, I do know that at this time, we are all called to be instruments of the most High. We are called to reflect His glory in all that we do. We must live each day knowing that our present sufferings and trials are momentary and achieving us an eternal glory that far outweigh them all (2 Cor. 4:17). Even death, the one thing that humans cannot avoid, our Redeemer has overcome. Even when we cannot understand or comprehend, we have to trust that God is having His way in our lives for His glory. Our Redeemer lives so that we too can live for all of eternity!
Photograph above by Joe Kim.
Andrea Suh is the Missions Director at Thanksgiving Korean Church in Buena Park, CA. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Comparative Education at the University of California at Los Angeles. She loves writing, ice cream, and long conversations over coffee.