“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God” (Job 19:25,26).
JOB WAS A MAN WHO RESOLUTELY REFUSED TO GIVE UP HIS FAITH IN GOD. Having seen, when the sun was shining, that there were strong, compelling reasons to trust God, he did not let go of those reasons when the darkness closed in. He hung on to hope. “I shall see God” was the confidence that held him steady.
It is always disappointing to me to hear people mock faith as nothing more than “wishful thinking.” Granted, there are some who believe only because it makes them more comfortable (just as there are some whose doubt is mainly emotional), but faith, rightly considered, is not wishful thinking. It is confidence in unseen, intangible realities based on solid evidence. If the evidence is strong enough, there need not be anything flimsy about faith. It can be as strong as the reasons that support it. Faith “is a well-grounded assurance of that for which we hope, and a conviction of the reality of things which we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1 Weymouth).
It is an obvious fact that this life can be hard. I remember years ago being at Arnold’s Country Kitchen in Nashville, Tennessee, sitting across the table from a crusty old drifter. Somehow we got to talking about death, and he said, “I ain’t afraid to die; it’s gettin’ to that point that’s got me worried.” It reminded me of Napoleon Bonaparte’s saying that “it requires more courage to suffer than to die.” Job would have agreed. And today, we are naive if we think our faith is always going to be easy to maintain. To embark on the Christian life is to enter upon an endurance test in which our resolve will have to be very strong.
For all Job knew, he was going to die from his afflictions, but if so, he was unconcerned: “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.” Job knew God would be waiting for him on the other side. “And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.” Ultimately, that is what faith always is: trust in the God who is — for now — unseen.
“Faith is to believe what we do not see; and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe” (Augustine of Hippo).