The tradition in the Galloway home on Christmas Eve is to watch two seasonal films before retiring. One of those might be “A Christmas Carol” (either the Muppet or Patrick Stewart version), or it might be “Christmas with the Kranks,” “Miracle on 34th Street,” “The Family Man,” or even “The Grinch.” But each year, without fail, the second film we watch is Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” starring James Stewart. We began with a very cheap DVD of it and have finally progressed to the colourised version.
The story is familiar to most: George Bailey has lived a life where so many of his dreams have had to be put on hold. One particular Christmas, his life began to fall down around him due to his uncle losing a major deposit for their family Savings-and-Loan business. George finally hits rock bottom and decided it would be better if he had never been born — and he gets to see what the world would have been like if there would never have been a George Bailey in it.
We see this same scenario in the book of Job. Job has lost everything except for his wife and his life. As far as his life goes, he is in pain and miserable. Three of his friends showed up to comfort him, but all they have done is try to convince him that this is all his fault. Job was weary and had had enough: “I am weary of my life; I will complain without restraint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul” (Job 10:1 NET).
It is when people reach such a low point that they often despair of even their lives. Job was no exception. He, like George Bailey, felt it would be better if he had never been born. Notice what he said to God:
“Why then did you bring me out from the womb? I should have died and no eye would have seen me! I should have been as though I had never existed; I should have been carried right from the womb to the grave! Are not my days few? Cease, then, and leave me alone, that I may find a little comfort, before I depart, never to return, to the land of darkness and the deepest shadow, to the land of utter darkness, like the deepest darkness, and the deepest shadow and disorder, where even the light is like darkness” (Job 10:18-22).
If he had died at birth, Job thought, no one would have ever seen him and none of this would have happened to him. Although he wanted God to leave him alone so that he could find a little comfort in his few remaining days, it does not seem that taking his own life was something he thought about.
As was pointed out to George Bailey, if he had not lived, many things would not have happened, including saving his brother’s life, saving his employer from manslaughter, and even saving the town from Mr Potter. I’m confident that the same could have been said of Job — we will see later in this book some of the good things he had been doing with the blessings God had given him.
God has given us life, and God has blessed us. God has never promised that everything in life will be easy. But he does want us to trust him, both in good times and when things aren’t going well for us. It is when we trust God that we can then be a blessing to others by pointing them to the source of our blessings.
Readings for next week:
28 September – Job 12
29 September – Job 13
30 September – Job 14
1 October – Job 15
2 October – Job 16-17