When I was younger, reading the story of Job seemed simple. Job goes through immense pressure and heartache. He trusts God through the struggle, and God blesses him for it. He finally gets all of his stuff back. But two years ago at camp, after studying the book for a whole month, I realized the actual meaning in the book of Job.
We all go through bad things. Loved ones pass away, relationships end, we struggle through pain and heartbreak all the time. It’s part of human life after the fall. You might think what you are going through is the worst, and it might be the toughest thing you have ever dealt with, but Job can relate.
He lost everything. Legitimately everything that he had ever gained on the earth he lost. What do I mean by this?
Riches are Stolen
Listen, Job was loaded. He was known as one of the wealthiest men of the time. Now, this is important because it raises a valuable question: what did Job eat? Sure he probably had something, but it was vastly lower in quality than he was used to.
The Bible doesn’t tell us about his house or own belongings, but I assume he didn’t have much after he states in Job 1:21 “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away.”
All of a sudden Job was missing a massive part of his life. Any friends that had been his servants were gone. His sons and daughters perished in a tragedy. Imagine losing one person you care about.
Job lost a multitude of people in one day. I’m a very relational person, and I can’t imagine losing a group of people so close to me all in one day.
We value health so much more than we are willing to admit. When we go through health problems, it consumes us. We are always worrying about it and spending money to fix it. Job had intense boils covering his body. This was like an extreme version of poison ivy.
I’ve gotten poison ivy plenty of times in my life, but it never compared to the boils that Job was dealing with. If you don’t believe me, just Google boils and take a look for yourself! (P.S. THIS IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART. I warned you!)
The Last Straw
Job loses his wife and friends. His wife basically tells him to give up on life. That’s beyond tough coming from someone with which you possess a deep relationship. His friends sit down and inform him that all of this suffering is his fault. Man, what great friends.
On top of that, neither group is pronounced dead in the story. Instead, they stick around to continue to discourage Job. Add rejection to the heartbreak and loss he was already dealing with.
The whole story changes in chapter 38. You know the part right before the end that we as Christians don’t ever read? It’s the culmination of the entire story!
God decides to ask Job a series of questions and demands that Job answers them. The crazy thing is that these questions are entirely unanswerable by a human. Here are a few:
- Job do you tell the sun to rise?
- Have you entered into the deep springs of the sea?
- Can you bring rain Job?
- What about the stars, Job, can you alter their courses?
- Have you seen a bear Job? Do you guide it daily?
The obvious answer to all of those questions is no, and it might seem easy to you, but remember, Job was talking to the Lord directly. He could hear the Lord’s voice and was terrified.
God continues for four chapters of questions and ends in chapter 42.
Now, the first time I read this I was shocked. I felt like God was sarcastic. Job was going through so much, and it didn’t seem like God was very compassionate about everything. He was holding an early-century roast session for the poor guy. I know God is loving and kind, so this didn’t make sense to me.
But you have to look at Job’s response. He first praises God, and then he says a few words that unlock the whole story!
“I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eyes see you. Therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
Job saw God.
That’s the story.
Sure, four verses later the Lord blesses him and graciously replenishes all of Job’s wealth and even gives him a new family. But that isn’t the point!
Job saw God. That’s the point. After all of that suffering, Job said: “If this was all to know you better God, IT WAS WORTH IT.” God is seeking you just like He was seeking Job.
He wants to be in a close relationship with us. He allowed Satan to do evil and used it for good. This is the story of the Gospel and the story of Christ’s death. Men/Satan do evil; God uses it for good.
Your situation is different, and you have to trust the Lord. He wants you to see His face in a new way. He’s looking for you in this struggle. Don’t miss Him. Purpose that even in a trial you will seek His face and allow it to be life-changing. That’s the point of suffering. To see God.