My experience in the Christian life often feels like being on a train that’s traveling through the mountains. One minute the view out my window is crisp and clear. I am certain of how to do right in the eyes of God. But the next minute, I am in a tunnel, and the once-clear view goes dark. Life gets complicated, and I am not sure how to navigate it in a righteous way. In these times, I have often asked the questions that Bildad did: “How can a person be justified before God? How can one born of woman be pure?” (Job 25:4–5).
Instead of directly answering Bildad’s question, Job replies with a list of acts that exemplify God’s power: “By His power He stirred the sea… By His breath the heavens gained their beauty” (Job 26:12–13). Similar to our reading from yesterday, it seems that Job is asking a better question now. Instead of how—How can man be righteous?—he asks who—Who is God? These questions might seem unrelated, but one must be asked before the other can be answered.
A few years ago, during a tunnel season of intense anxiety, I felt like I could not see up from down. I wasn’t sure what I was doing right and what I was doing wrong. Thinking and analyzing my way through things wasn’t working; it simply increased my anxiety. Finally, I turned to what I knew. Each morning, I wrote down five things I knew to be true about God, even if I only believed it that day. I scrawled truths like, He is fighting for me. He is my Creator. And eventually I began to write, He is good.
This was not a quick fix for my anxiety, but it helped me weather the season until I came out the other side, and it taught me that when it comes to our own righteousness, the question is not how but who. When I am asking what to do, what is right, I need a friend to tell me, as Job told Bildad, “I will teach you about God’s power” (Job 27:11).
This is where our rightness begins, with a God who loves us, and in that love sent His Son to make us righteous. If we stand any chance of doing good on this earth, our actions must be motivated and sustained by that love—the love of Christ and of the Father who sent Him. It is the who that makes us good, not the how. And while the how may change as we grow and learn in faith, the who never does. The truth of Christ remains the same.
May we rest in God’s goodness today and let go of the quest for our own. For in the end it is all by His power; it is all by His breath.