Job, of course, was blameless; he “walked in the law of the LORD”. But life dealt him terrible blow upon blow and he can hardly be described as ‘happy’. He cursed the day of his birth, wished he had been left in that eternal darkness, never having been conceived. And adding insult to injury were the “friends” who tried to persuade him that he must have done something to incur such sufferings. They lived in a simple world where God rewards the righteous and punishes sinners – so it was easy for them to argue back from his suffering to the fact that he needs to ‘get right with God’.
Thankfully, Job would have none of it. Thankfully his protest was preserved as scripture. And in the wonderful conversation that is the Holy Scriptures we have both the recognition that there is an inherent honor in a faithful embodying of God’s compassion and justice – it results in a life filled with many good things – and the acknowledgment that life is not fair. Some reap the benefit of faithfulness; some reap troubles others have sown. Some of us mess up our lives with bad choices, and others escape those consequences. There is a benefit to faithfulness, but “the race is not to the swift, the battle to the strong; time and chance happen to them all.” Both are true.
There is no explanation why one person drives home drunk and makes it safely, while others lives with blood on their hands. There is just the mystery of life.
But faithfulness does have its rewards. God honors acts of kindness. God honors faithfulness. God honors justice. God honors those who do the right thing even if it costs them. God honors perseverance. God honors patient endurance. God honors those do good in the face of evil. God honors those who live by God’s law/teaching.
They may not be ‘happy’ – life may betray them – they may even be put to death, “but not a hair of their head will perish.” In the crucible of sorrows great disciples can be made. And they are blessed.