Book of Job: Suffering
The book of Job 1:3, in The New Oxford Annonated Bible, states "Job was the
greatest man among all in the East." He was a faithful servant of God, he owned
thousands of animals, and had many servants and friends. Job had a very large
family with seven sons and three daughters. Why was Job chosen to suffer and
receive punishment at the hands of the Lord one may ask? The major themes in
the book describe the ways Job deals with suffering and despair the Lord handed
him. How one deals with despair and suffering is what makes a person who he or
The Lord is not a stranger to suffering. Psalms 69:33-36, states "The
Lord hears the needy and does not despise his captive people. Let heaven and
earth praise him. The seas and all that move in them. For God will save Zion
and rebuild the cities of Judah. Then people will settle there and possess it;
the children of his servants will inherit it; and those who love his name will
dwell there." God does not intentionally inflict despair and heartache on his
believers for no reason at all. I think the despair we experience, and how we
deal with it, is a test to show our true selves.
The Lord does not make us suffer because of what we have done. Through
suffering, we become better people and grow as an individual. You find your
identity through terrible experiences. I have dealt with serious heartache and
do believe that I have grown from it. I have learned how to react to certain
situations and how to overcome them.
I looked up the word "suffering" in the bible, I was directed to Psalms
73:21-26. It states, "When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was
senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with
you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and
afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth
has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is
the strength of my heart and my portion forever". These verses explain that God
is always with us. No matter how bad circumstances get, God will be beside us
through it all. This is the main reason that Job does not understand why God is
making him suffer. Job had always been true to the Lord's word and had never
done anything to deserve what he was being handed. His fame, fortune, family,
and health were stripped of him for no apparent reason. In Job 1:21, Job says, "
Naked I came from my mothers womb. naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the
Lord has taken away. May the name of the Lord be praised." Still Job was
faithful to the Lord, Jobs faith was stronger than his anguish.
What makes people believe in the Lord and stand beside him through
everything? Wars, natural disasters, and disease are all events that can make
people doubt God, but the strong believers stick with the Lord. When Job had
basically his whole life taken away from him, he was all alone except for his
friends. His friends were there for him, but not in a way that he wanted them
to be. His friends kept asking him what he had done to deserve the suffering
God placed upon him. They told him that if he repented his sins, he would get
all he lost back. Job still insisted that he had done nothing wrong. His
friends were not giving him the support he wanted.
Job was in a lot of pain, physically and emotionally. He wanted to know
why God chose him to suffer. In comparing the book of Job to modern day, I
think of the Olympic Park bombing this last summer at the Summer Games. Richard
Jewell was the targeted suspect for a good 4 months, he was eventually dropped
as a suspect. This was good news for Jewell, but he will never be the same
person. He will forever live his life in the shadow of this terrible incident.
I wonder if Richard Jewell feels that he has become a better person due to his
In the end, Job does finally get back all he had lost, and then some.
The unfortunate thing about this is he got back his children, but they were not
the same children as before. I am not a parent, but if I were to have my child
taken away from me and then be given a different one, it would be a horrible
experience. The love a parent has for his or her child can never be substituted.
There is no replacement for a human being, you can replace just about anything
else, however, no one can replace a lost life. If I were Job, I would have
given up on the Lord. After what had happened I still would be very upset about
how I was treated. It is the people that deal with adversity this way who are
rewarded in the end. All we can do is just keep on having faith in the Lord and
he will have faith in ourselves.