The book of Job tells the story of a man who lost everything. And in the midst of his suffering, he never gave up his faith in God. It’s a story that most of us have at least heard bits and pieces of… even outside of the church. At first glance, it can seem like a dark and intense book of poetry. But the suffering of Job has a lot to say to us as Believers today. In fact, it points to Christ in some very interesting ways.
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The suffering of Job demonstrates perseverance, faith, and above all else… God’s heart.
To say that Job’s life was hard is an understatement. He literally lost everything… his wealth, his home, his family, and even his health. His “friends” tried to console him by accusing him of sinning. (Yes, you read that right.) After all, he must have sinned greatly to warrant such catastrophe in his life.
Through it all, Job would learn an incredible lesson about faith in the midst of suffering. James even speaks of Job’s faith when encouraging the early Believers as they suffered persecution for serving Jesus.
Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. – James 5:10-11 (NIV)
In the midst of his sorrow, Job speaks of hope.
As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth. – Job 19:25
Most scholars agree that Job lived during the time of the patriarchs, probably sometime in between the days of Noah and Abraham. At this point in history, there were no Scriptures to read and no Hebrew nation or Law of Moses to guide him. Job’s relationship with God was based solely on personal trust in his Creator. Even then, he knew God’s heart for him and how great God truly is. He speaks of God as his “Redeemer,” a name that would ultimately be fulfilled in Jesus Christ.
God works all things together for good… even our suffering.
The righteous are not immune to trials and tribulations. In fact, we are pretty much guaranteed to have MORE trials when we surrender our lives to God. But God is faithful to turn our mourning into dancing. As Believers, this truth is found in Jesus. We have a hope in Him that can never be taken away.
What we see in the physical realm may not be an accurate representation of what is truly happening.
If you’ve ever read the book of Job, one thing is clear… there is a lot going on behind the scenes. As a reader, we experience the conversations in heaven between God and Satan. We understand God’s heart for Job and that He knew His servant would be faithful even in the midst of trials. But Job saw none of this. All he knew was this world and his sorrow.
When we endure pain and suffering in this life, how much is going on “behind the scenes”? Paul told us that our battle is not against flesh and blood. There is a spiritual battle going on all around us. How much of what we go through is the result of this war?
One final thing we have to remember when we suffer is that Jesus suffered too. He knows our pain and our sorrow. He walked in our shoes. We have a High Priest in heaven who knows what it’s like to go through everything we face in this life.
Just as Job trusted in God’s faithfulness, we too can trust our King.
The suffering of Job reminds us that sorrow is only temporary. We have hope and a glorious future in Jesus Christ.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. – Romans 8:18
This post is part of a larger series called “Let There Be Light.” Join me as we journey through the Old Testament leading up to the arrival of Jesus, the Light of the World!
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.