Dealing With Pain: The Story of Job (Part 1)

Continuing with the chronological reading through the Bible, I left Genesis Chapter 11, and into the first 5 chapters of Job. The first two chapters of Job set the scene for the next 40 chapters.

In Job chapter 1, we are introduced to a righteous and very wealthy man called Job. He was very wealthy the Bible says, and he feared God and lived a blameless life. God commended Job Himself. We also know that Job's children loved to party, and Job would give sacrificial offerings for each them thinking that "perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." Job also had a wife, who will be introduced shortly after.

Satan, the accuser of the brethren as the Bible refers to him in Revelation, and one whose purpose is to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10), appears before God and the conversation goes something like this:

Satan: "Job would curse you if you didn't bless him and protect him."
God : "Well, I'll show you that his love for me is deeper than the material and comfort I have given him".

And so God allows Satan to have everything Job possessed, but his health and life he could not touch (Job 1:12). Satan seized the opportunity to kill, steal, and destroy everything that belonged to Job, including all his sons and daughters. One bad report came one after another and we can only imagine how devastated Job must have felt. Ever felt like one wrong thing went wrong after another, and one bad day after another, and you almost lost it? Well, compare that to this situation. Read on.

Job fell on the ground, in disbelief, pain, speechlessness. Guess what he did? Job worshiped God. Yes, read it for yourself. The Bible says, in Job 1:22, "in all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing." In Job Chapter 2, Satan sees that Job still fears and loves God, minus all his possessions, and so being the liar and limited being he is, he asks God for permission to see if Job would curse God if his health was taken away. God allows Satan to strike Job's health, and in turn, Job grows grows painful sores all over his body. By this time, Job's wife has had enough. She asks her husband to curse God. Why are you still holding on to your integrity, she asks. Job is surprised that his wife would talk like a foolish woman, and tells her that we can accept trouble from God as much as we can accept His goodness and blessings.

In chapter 3, the pain gets so real for Job, that he starts wishing he was never born. When 3 of his friends come to visit him, they can't even recognize him from afar and they break down crying at the sight of their friend. They are so speechless, lacking words to comfort him that no one says a word for 7 days, but yet they sit on the ground next to him, comforting him with their presence and listening to him. while wishing he was never born, Job admits that what he feared and dreaded has finally happened to him (Job 3:25). The man is in all sorts of agony: physical, emotional, spiritual, etc. "I have no peace, no quietness, I have no rest", he says (Job 3:26).

In Chapter 4 and 5, one of Job's friends, Eliphaz, finally talks. He reminds Job of his righteousness in God, and how that integrity can be hope for him. He reminds Job of how he has helped many people, encouraged many, strengthened many, and how all that was not in vain. He then asks Job to lay his case before God, for God performs wonders and miracles beyond number. Eliphaz does one thing right, he tells Job to turn his eyes to God for God's track record can be trusted. On the other hand, Eliphaz, no knowing God's ultimate purpose in the entire situation, wrongly assumes that Job might be undergoing the Lord's correction and punishment, and so Job should rejoice in that. But from what we know from previous verses, this was not the case. Nonetheless, Eliphaz seems like a friend to be trusted.

What are you going through right now? How is your reaction similar or different from Job's? Are you charging God with wrong doing? What makes you think this could be correction, discipline, punishment? If it's not discipline, how can you still respond in grace and thankfulness but yet still express pain and sorrow?