Job lost almost everything — children, health and property — in a matter of days. His life is THE case study on dealing with adversity. You’ve heard of the patience of Job, right?
Instead of caving to the agony of his circumstances, he said, “Naked came I from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21, ESV).
In all this, Job didn’t sin or indict God foolishly. His body was smitten with sores and he sat down among the ashes. He felt confused and grief stricken. But he refused to entertain his wife’s suggestion that he curse God and die.
He said, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10, NASB)
What was up with this guy?
How did he stay anchored to God through a psychic hurricane, tsunami, and tornado combined? What did he know that we don’t?
All through his life, Job walked and talked with God. The two were friends and companions; they knew each other. And Job’s suffering opened a door for him to know God even better.
Job chose, of his own free will, to keep trusting God. He could have decided to join forces with his wife, accusing God and feasting on bitterness and anger. We all have that choice when trials and tribulations come our way.
I’ve faced it, and more than once.
In the aftermath of his disaster, Job sat silent for a week. Then he started a long conversation with some friends who had gathered around him. After that, God showed up to talk to him.
What did Job learn?
- He recognized that his human limitations made it silly to project stuff on God. God’s ways are far higher than ours.
- When something bad happens, he found out, some people assume it’s because of something we did. (Yes, bad things can and do happen because of bad choices we make. In those cases, there’s a cause-and-effect relationship between a choice and its consequence. A consequence might be slow in coming, but it will show up.)
- Job found out, as righteous as he was, that he was still frail, prone to deception, and in need of God’s mercy and grace.Best of all, he found out that his Redeemer lives: “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye SEES You” (Job 42:5, ESV).
The book of Job ends with him forgiving his accusatory friends and asking God to forgive them, too. “And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10, KJV).
It all turned around
Job journeyed through doubt, fear, and unbelief on a level few others do. He came through it with his faith intact.
Better than intact, actually.
His faith gained a depth and a richness and a stability that he wouldn’t have gained in continued ease.
On the other side of the valley, Job was a man who could be trusted with more blessings than he had before. He and God both knew that his heart was steadfast. It had been refined and forged.
And what about Job’s wife? We know that Job had 10 more children, and the rest of his life was even more blessed than before. The Bible doesn’t mention her at the end, but also doesn’t mention another wife. Can we assume she shared her husband’s happy ending? I hope so!
Job was a hero. We could use more heroes like him.