Nothing says “suffering” like the story of Job, a wealthy man who lost everything he had gained: cattle, money, home, health, and children, yet one thing he did not lose was his integrity. We know he prayed regularly, and fasted too, but still, everything was taken from him. We cannot help but feel for Job, when we read about his losses and the overwhelming sorrow and distress he experienced.
We have to notice this, though, about Job: He refused to let wealth–or the loss of it–affect his relationship with God. The enemy seized on every opportunity to remind him of his situation: “Look at your bleak, hopeless life!” But Job did not allow the Devil to infect him with that thought. He held firm. His fervor to worship and serve God was intact. He had no intention to stray.
As human as the rest of us, we know Job passed through moments where he felt betrayed or angry about his affliction. At one time, his grief and pain were so severe that he had deep regrets that God had ever let him be born.
After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. And Job spoke, and said: “May the day perish on which I was born, And the night in which it was said, ‘A male child is conceived.’ May that day be darkness; May God above not seek it, Nor the light shine upon it” (Job 3:1-4).
However, Job determined that he wouldn’t turn away from God even if more chaos came along. When his wife, whom he looked to for support, pressured him to denounce God, Job knew he’d have to stand alone. His friends’ approval didn’t matter. Obeying God had become his only priority. Job knew that a strong commitment to righteousness is more important than instincts and that compromise leads to your own demise. Job also discovered that when the righteous think they are all alone, the Lord is already there with them.
What we can learn from Job…
Man is dependent upon God his maker to give him the abundance of all good things.
Materialistic goods are only for temporary comfort and not for heavenly rest.
You can’t always rely on others; sometimes they are “fair-weather” friends and desert you when the going gets tough.
God has certain walls He won’t allow the enemy to get beyond–Satan could only attack Job to a point.
Patience, faith and trust in God bring deliverance.
God understands human conditions and emotions, and He is sympathetic when we hurt.
The kingdom of God is not based on earthly goods but rather on Spirit living.
God has a perfect plan for your life regardless of detours along the way.
We all know the tests Job faced, but sometimes we forget to focus on God’s deliverance. At the end of Job’s suffering, God gave Job more than he originally had. Some of us might have been tempted to give up on God, but Job was planted by water and firmly rooted. His connection to God withstood infirmities. He remained steadfast. He had a valley experience on the way to the mountaintop, but the mountaintop was all Job saw. He refused to see his valley condition because he fixed his eyes on God. When we do the same thing, the valleys will cease to have any power over us.
When we find ourselves obsessed with our condition, we must look to tomorrow and not just focus on the here and now. That’s how Job overcame. He saw God and not his literal situation. Isn’t it ironic that the material goods were of little comfort to Job? He couldn’t find comfort in his friends or his wife. But he knew he could wait on God.
Jody K Young