“You have heard of the patience of Job…” James 5:11
The book of Job is one of the more puzzling books in the Bible. Job is a character whose exact background we are unable to discern. We do not know exactly where Job lived or who he was. Yet he is acknowledged elsewhere in both the Old and New Testaments as being a person of faith, patience, and righteous living.
But it is also clear that Job struggled in his time of distress. That is what the book of Job is all about. Even someone so righteous as Job found himself crying out in anguish over his troubles and losses. When Job was pressed to his limits, he asked many questions about God’s mercy and providence. It is this humanness that attracts us to Job. He asks many of the questions we ask in times of stress.
One of the unique aspects of the book of Job is Job’s friends. His “friends” end up being more hindrance than help. They prove to be miserable comforters for his grief. They rail against Job because he will not disclose the “secret sin” that caused God to bring him such trouble. But Job will not do so. Job does not believe God has punished him for any particular act of transgression or disobedience. But that leaves the question: Why is Job enduring such a trial?
There is nothing simple about the book of Job. Job’s friends weave twisty arguments around and around. Job moans and complains about his pain and God’s unfairness. These conversations take up most of the book and seem repetitive and less than illuminating. In the end God will appear to Job but not give him a complete answer to all his questions. Rather Job will be satisfied with the experience of God’s majesty, even though he does not get all his uncertainties resolved.
One of the things we learn from Job is to trust God. We sometimes have to trust God without all the answers. We would like to have life always wrapped up in a neat package, but that rarely happens. Yet when we trust God, it gives us a secure place from which to live, even in our doubts, problems, and troubles.
May the lessons of Job penetrate our hearts. In every situation, whether good or bad, we do well to trust in the love, grace, and power of Almighty God.
With Warm Regards,