I was not being cavalier, not dismissing our mutual sorrow. Neither was I throwing up my hands as if to say, “Well, He’s God. Sometimes He’s good to us. Sometimes He’s mean. There’s nothing we can do about it.” Instead, I was trying to enter into our very purpose. The Lord does give. He does take away. His name is to be blessed, however, not ultimately because of what He gives or what He takes away but because of who He is. He is worthy to be praised for His being, before He has blessed us or cursed us, before He has done anything at all. He is praiseworthy not because He is the perfect means to our own ends but because He is the end Himself.
That—His glory in who He is—is the ultimate reason why He makes some vessels for mercy and some for judgment. That—His glory in who He is—is the ultimate reason why He opens wombs, closes wombs, and numbered our baby’s days. What we have to learn, however, is that—His glory in who He is—is the ultimate reason for our own existence. Our purpose, our telos, our reason for being, is not merely that we would speak words of praise while we live our lives but that our lives and everything in them would manifest His glory. He does not exist for our sake. Rather, we exist for His glory.
Job was, at the beginning of his story, the very picture of what our culture would call success. He was surrounded by family who loved him. He had servants in his employ. He was a man of character, and he was likely one of the wealthiest men in the world. In an escalating series of brief moments, as tragedy followed calamity on the heels of a dark providence, he lost it all. Well, almost all. The character remained. It’s true that near the end, he slipped and brought his accusation against God. This piece of pottery did ask the Potter, “Why have you allowed my life to be smashed to pieces?” Quickly enough, though, he repented, recognizing whose life it actually was. He came to grasp that his calling wasn’t to pursue his wealth or his health, but that he was to pursue first the kingdom of God. His kingdom is that place where our Father’s absolute authority is joyfully recognized, humbly submitted to, and fervently celebrated, whatever our circumstances.
When we lay down our lives and take up His cross, we put to death our own agenda. His kingdom is our all in all. And this ought to put to death our every fear, for our single end is certain—He has been given all authority in heaven and on earth. He is bringing all things into subjection. He will come again, and every knee will bow, every tongue confess that He is Lord. Blessed be the name of the Lord.