He was a man who loved things of permanence. Not only was he a gifted eye surgeon, but he decided to do other things with his hands—and so, he took classes in welding. Many of his larger pieces were displayed on his front yard. One of his favorite creations was a large rock in his front yard on which he had engraved the letters TATNS. It was a riddle of sorts that only he and his wife understood for a long time, but it gave him joy.
Nothing gave him joy, however, like studying the most permanent thing—God’s Word. For many years, he would wake up at 4:44 a.m. and go back to his workshop to study the Bible—his copy of the Scriptures was marked with his own comments on the text along with dates and places.
The one text, though, above all others that stood as a north star for my friend, one that guided him through life and death, was Job 19:23–27. That passage of Scripture gave him confidence that he was not on a fool’s errand, but that the gospel was true and would sustain him.
Job pointed my friend to God’s revelation: “Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book! Oh that with an iron pen and lead they were engraved in the rock forever!” (vv. 23–24). Job had asked God to make his words and his defense permanent so that all posterity would have access to his justification. In the wonder of God’s grace, He granted that request. Job’s words are contained in a book that has proved more permanent than iron, lead, or rock.
This text also pointed my friend to God’s redemption: “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth” (v. 25). Job’s justification was not rooted simply in his innocence; no, it was rooted in the fact that God was his living Redeemer. Though he didn’t know the Redeemer by name, we do. His name is Jesus, who died, rose, and is coming again.
There was one more facet of his confidence: resurrection. “And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another” (vv. 26–27). Job’s confidence was this: even if his flesh was destroyed, somehow he would see God.
These words from Job were true for my friend and served as guidance all his days. Remember that rock in my friend’s front yard, the one with TATNS engraved on it? Those initials stood for “True as the north star”—they were the secret way my friend signed his letters to his wife. And yet, in a far more real way, those initials stood for this text in God’s Word. God’s revelation, redemption, and resurrection are as true as the north star for every Christian—are they for you?