Character Development with Job

» Posted by on Oct 15, 2013 in character development | 0 comments

Character Development with Job

What do YOU use to help you get through trials and tribulations?

Personally, I have had some huge trials in my life that took years to resolve. I have used a variety of techniques to help me with character development as I went through those situations. One in particular that provided perhaps the best insight was reflecting on the story of Job.

eye through lens

originally uploaded by MindExpansi0n at: http://www.morguefile.com/archive/display/
133491

In the beginning of the book of Job, God says,

Have you considered my servant, Job?”

I hear pride in the tone of God’s voice, and the desire to point Job out as exceptional. Essentially, the response is, “You have him so well protected!” God seems to take this as a personal challenge; apparently, He really believes in Job and feels that he will stand up to whatever comes his way. God takes up the gauntlet, and says, in effect, “Okay, what did you have in mind?”

Notice this: Job did nothing wrong. What happens to him, I believe, is for a variety of reasons.

  • To prove to Job that he was righteous.
  • To illustrate what happens after a trial.
  • To show Job what was truly important.
  • To remove Job’s fears.
  • To help Job feel confident in his relationship with God.

At first, Job’s friends either try to explain why he is experiencing this trial or suggest what he should do to change the situation. His wife is the most frank, “Just curse God and die!” Granted, they sit with him for a week in silence; however in the end, God requires they bring sacrifices and have Job intermediate for them because He did not appreciate how they handled Job. From beginning to end, God believed in Job. He provided the opportunity through this trial to prove to all, including Job, that what He saw in Job was the truth.

Two zebras in Lake Nakuru, Kenya, October 2012.

Two zebras in Lake Nakuru, Kenya, October 2012.

Here is what I clung to while I went through a particularly long and testy trial: Job received double when all was said and done. I would console myself  with the idea that when my trial was over, I would receive double, too. Why not? Is that not what scripture is for; to teach us and show us what we have to look forward to? I identified with Job. Maybe I did not have my life together the way Job did in the beginning of his trial, but I figured by the end, I would be on the same page as him.

What I have experienced; however, is something even deeper than receiving double. I am not even sure if I know how to describe it. The closest I can come to it is by using the term, “inverse,” which I use in explaining operations in math, i.e., the inverse of multiplication is division, the inverse of addition is subtraction, etc. It is similar to using the word, “opposite,” but not exactly.

For example, the opposite of black is white,

but black and white are not the inverse of each other.

I like what one website said on the subject, “A function and its inverse function can be described as the “DO” and the “UNDO” functions.”

DOES THIS EVER DESCRIBE WHAT HAPPENED TO ME!

God undid the snarly mess in my life and created the INVERSE; and, He is not finished. As I go on my way, my path continues to become more and more the inverse of what my life was like previously!

I can only think of it in terms of an expression in scripture used by Yeshua (Jesus) when He talked about going through the eye of the needle. Here is the story in its context:

originally uploaded by kakisky at http://cdn.morguefile.com/imageData/public/files/k/kakisky/ 07/l/13739198268ep02.jpg

originally uploaded by kakisky at http://cdn.morguefile.com/imageData/public/files/k/kakisky/
07/l/13739198268ep02.jpg

And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?”And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

–Matthew 19:16-26 (ESV)

Riding a camel on Mt. Olives, Jerusalem, Israel, March, 2012.

Riding a camel on Mt. Olives, Jerusalem, Israel, March, 2012.

Whether Yeshua meant a camel going through the eye of a literal needle or whether He was referring to a gate at the side of the main gate, which the camel had to go through after business hours when the gate was closed; in either case, the story is applicable to Job as he was extremely wealthy in the era in which he lived.

What happens to the camel on the other side of the gate?

All of the goods are returned to the back of the camel and he proceeds about his business.

I love applying this idea to what happened to Job. First, he was stripped of all his goods, then he went through this trial God arranged for him to participate in (whether he wanted to or not), and then all was restored to him at the end of this experience.

  • During the trial, what do you think happened to him?
  • Did he place the same value on his possessions after the trial as he did before?
  • Did he have the same fear he mentioned in the beginning of the book?
  • What did his experience do in regards to shaping his understanding of God?

In Job 3:25, he says, “That which I feared has come upon me.” He faced what he feared, he stood his ground, i.e., he did not curse God, and he came out on the other side, still intact.  Based on understanding received from my own personal trial, this is what I believe happened to Job:

  • He learned to see himself the way God saw him.
  • He no longer feared the loss of possessions or relationships.

  • He realized what was inside him; the trial polished his soul.

  • He became fearless.
2013-01-27 02.18.30

Standing at the Marangu Gate Entrance to Kilimanjaro National Park January 2013

Trials create fearlessness. You no longer need to be concerned about petty happenings; you get to do really cool stuff that would make most people sweat, and you have an inner sense of strength. You become authentic: true to yourself.

Reflecting on the character development of Job helped me get through a pretty tough trial in my life as well as stay anchored in my thought process. It gave me hope that there would come a better day. I have seen the story come alive in my life, reaping the results of sticking it out, just as Job did, and feel that in addition to receiving DOUBLE for my TROUBLE, I am on the INVERSE SIDE of that event. Similar to a rich man going through the eye of a needle, enduring that trial felt like being stripped of all I deemed important, but on the other side, I am far wealthier in my soul.

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