There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.
There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east.
His sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each one on his day, and they would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them.
And when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.
Job 1:1-5 (ESV)
I was in my 40s when my grandmother, Jewel, died in her mid-90s. One of my strongest childhood memories was sleeping in the extra twin bed in her room and hearing her pray aloud for each family member by name before she went to sleep. This Jewel did continually, just like Job.
If you know anything of Job’s story, you know that the Bible describes him as a good man. The best around. And God blessed him abundantly. When his grown children got together to party and celebrate, Job would get up early the next morning to offer burnt offerings just in case they had sinned and cursed God in their hearts.
Even though they were grown and gone, Job was clearly concerned about what his children were doing, what was going on with them in their everyday lives, and in these celebratory times they spent together.
A Parent’s Concern and Duty
It’s the reality of all parents. The more our children move outside of our line of vision, the more intimately we know these feelings and concerns. I’ve been a parent for almost 30 years now, and I know how it is.
Sometimes, we ignore and deny. Most parents worry . . . a lot. Some seek to stay in charge and control things. But nearly all of us bear a continual burden for our children—we just live it out differently.
We can learn a lot from Job’s example.
He didn’t call, text, or check their social media accounts. Instead, he prayed and asked the Lord to purify his children because he knew that ultimately, they belonged not to him, but to God.
Job chose to trust God with his children.
On this side of the cross, we don’t offer burnt sacrifices, but we can, and should, lift our children up to the Lord and entrust Him with the care and keeping of their souls. Like the smoke from Job’s burnt offerings, we know that our prayers ascend to God as a sweet aroma, and we can trust him to handle our concerns.
A Better Way
The world tends to deal with these kinds of parental concerns in one of two ways. You can either ignore it and choose to go along in order to get along, or you can intervene in an attempt to control it.
Job didn’t do either of those things. Instead, he prayed, refusing to ignore his instincts while also accepting that it was out of his hands. It was in God’s.
I want to be like Job, a parent who continually prays for God to both convict my children of sin and deliver them from it. I want to be a woman who rises up early in the morning and faithfully offers those prayers, day in and day out.
Who knows? Maybe Job’s faithfulness in those still, quiet hours morning after morning is exactly what prepared him for the hardship to come. Maybe prayer matters that much.
Like Job, my grandmother knew hardship. Her life was far from easy. Born in an era when the days were hard for everyone, Jewel’s home life made those hard days even harder. Her husband was a difficult man. A man who left her and three children to fend for themselves in a time when that rarely happened, and when women had no real means of self-support.
It’s hard for us today to entirely embrace the gravity of the situation she found herself in.
At Jewel’s funeral, my dad told us that she often read the Bible to him and his sisters as they sat at her feet. Dad shared that she typically read from the book of Job.
Born out of those frequent reads, born in trying days, born out of an aloneness none of us should face, my grandmother read Job, no doubt related to him on some level, and prayed as he did.
She made a daily practice of bringing her children and family before the Lord. And as with Job, that made all the difference.
May it be the same for us.
About the Author
Lanette Williams seeks to be a person of prayer who is growing continually in the Word. She wants to help others live abundantly as she continues a long-time career in long-term care, as a friend, as a mom to three adult daughters, and as a grandmother to one lovely granddaughter.