In chapter 31 of Job, we see Job list out a list of his accomplishments. He lists all the bad things that don’t please God and counters with the fact that he has not done any of those things. In fact, he walked righteously before God his entire life. Job helped the widows, the poor and the fatherless, he did not cheat on his wife, he showed hospitality to travelers, he treated his workers justly, and did not steal or lie.
Yet, even in Job’s righteousness, God allowed all these terrible tragedies into his life.
But, it got me thinking: what is my defense? When I go through dry seasons of suffering or pain, what will my list look like? What righteous acts follow me? Can I say that I’ve helped orphans and widows and obeyed all the Lord’s commandments?
Yes, a lot of times, the pain and suffering we go through has nothing to do with whether we “deserve” it or not. It’s life and it’s how we grow in God.
But sometimes, it is because of our own unrighteousness. It’s God’s way of humbling us and bringing us back to Him when we’ve wandered away. It’s the consequences we face for our disobedience.
As Job says in 31:23, falling under the wrath of a living God is a terrifying thing. But when sufferings come our way, I pray that we can also make a list like Job’s, pointing out that we have walked righteously and faithfully before God. After all, the Scripture is filled with examples of people God spared, even for generations, because of their righteousness. If you don’t want to do it for yourself, then do it for your children. For example, we keep seeing in the Old Testament how God would show mercy to some kings who did horrible things, but because they were David’s descendants, and for David’s righteousness, the Lord spared them of the punishment they deserved.
Jesus has partially become that for us. Because of His sacrifice, we escape a lot of punishments that we would otherwise have to carry for our disobedience and sin. But we also have a role to play. So, let us build up a portfolio of righteous acts. One day, we’ll all stand before the throne of God, and as God looks through the lives we lived, may He find us full of righteousness.