Finding Jesus in Job
There is a timeless question asked by young and old alike that’s the heart of the book of Job: “Why does God allow suffering?” We could phrase it another way, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Job’s three friends explained his suffering by assuming that their creed was the right one: bad things happen to bad people and good things happen to good people. Does that answer explain God’s ways? Job didn’t think so and neither do I.
Suffering is part of human existence for good and bad people alike, however, the question shouldn’t be “why am I suffering?” but “how do I handle it?” Trials occur in everyone’s life, to different degrees, because of sin. It’s our enemy that brings evil into our lives. Since Satan was given the earth as his command center, his influence is all around us, and we’re forced to co-exist with him, but only for a little longer. He doesn’t have the authority to simply kill us, as with Job, only to use his many weapons of emotional and spiritual warfare. Lies and guilt are two weapons he wields but in the power of the Holy Spirit we shield ourselves from his attack. Job, his story was possibly the first Biblical book recorded, was a believer, however, he wasn’t sinless as he maintained. The truth is that he needed a Savior. It took many chapters for Job to realize his sinfulness and that’s precisely where we find Jesus in the book of Job.
For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. Job 19:25 ESV
As this book reaches its conclusion God speaks at length comparing Himself to Job and therefore to us. Four chapters describe His sovereignty and power; Job is finally humbled.
I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes. Job 42:2-6 ESV
The bookends of Job are clear: God authorizing Satan, God forgiving repentant man.
Let’s learn from Job in our times of suffering to humble ourselves, repent, and seek His direction. We don’t have to listen to all the voices that give advice when we have God’s full attention. He’ll show us the way out, in His time, and we’ll learn to trust Him to greater degrees. The more experiences we have seeing God at work in our lives the more opportunities we’ll have to share with those in need. I’m with Job on this one: eagerly waiting for the last day.