Day 287: The fear of the Lord

Job 28-29; Philippians 4

The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

This verse has always been meaningful to me…but it has become especially meaningful in the wake of my own personal suffering…

The morning of April 13, 2010 began in its normal way with me caring for my three healthy children. By noon, a truck had plowed into the side of our van, inflicting its permanent damage on our family. My middle child, Anne, came very close to death. By God’s grace, she survived…but lives with a debilitating brain injury. Our family is very different. In many ways, our lives have been split in two – we talk about life in terms of “before the accident” and “after the accident.”

Job’s life has also been split in two. His whole view of the world has been scarred by his immense loss. Yet the foundation of Job’s life remains “the fear of the Lord” (Job 1:1; 28:28). Job manages to land on this solid foundation briefly at the end of Job 28. This chapter is a bright ray of hope as Job describes his desperate search for wisdom. And in the end, he remembers that “The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom” (Job 28:28)!

But in the very next chapter we see Job looking back at his life as it was “before.” This is a dangerous trap…one that I have fallen into so many times. After the initial shock of tragedy faded and my new reality began to unfold, I longed for life to be as it used to be… easier and lighter.

But I found that these kinds of thoughts only sent me deeper into despair. And similarly for Job, we will read of his deep anguish in his final lament, tomorrow, in Job 30.

Job needed the truths of the gospel….the kind of truths found in Philippians. He needed the peace of God described in Philippians 4! He needed to stay on his life’s foundation. He needed to dwell on the “fear of the Lord”!

Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,
and to turn away from evil is understanding (Job 28:28).