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May 2, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Why is light given to him who is in misery, and life to the bitter of soul, who long for death, but it does not come, and search for it more than hidden treasures; who rejoice exceedingly, and are glad when they can find the grave? Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden, and whom God has hedged in? For my sighing comes before I eat, and my groanings pour out like water. For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me. I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, for trouble comes.”—Job 3:20-26 (NKJV)
Have you ever wondered what your purpose is in your current set of circumstances? Job did. Job lamented, in so many words, “Why am I here?”
And where was “here”? At the time, Job’s place was on the other side of tremendous personal loss—loss of home, property, family, and health. The hedge of protection Satan so sinisterly mocked (Job 1:10) was now an enclosure where Job felt trapped, restless, and alienated from God. And it is in this condition where he welcomed death.
What a dreadful condition to be in! Job had taken every measure to avoid tragedy. He was a man who feared God, lived a blameless life, and turned away from evil (Job 1:1). Yet in the end, the very thing he tried to evade—trouble—took up residence right where he was.
Job was at the end of his rope, and his “way was hidden.” He probably begged God for mercy, asking, “What now, Lord?”
But Job was not lamenting his loss of earthly treasure and health, as many of us might presume. In fact, Job maintained that the Lord had given, and the Lord had taken away (Job 1:21). Instead, many commentators believe Job mourned his estrangement from God. His theology was shaken, and it greatly troubled him.
God understands this state of mind. Proverbs 18:14 (NIV) asks, “The human spirit can endure in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?” We learn from Job that bad things happen to good people, and it’s okay to feel broken and full of despair. God lovingly responds by healing the brokenhearted (Psalm 147:3), not condemning them.
We also learn faith stands through seasons of despair. You see, God used suffering to move Job from an academic relationship to an intimate one. Job explains that he had heard of God, but now his eyes had seen him (Job 42:5). Truly, the end of a thing is better than the beginning (Ecclesiastes 7:8). And no matter where we are in the process, Job shows us we can hope in Him (Job 13:15).
DIG: What was Job’s most troublesome loss?
DISCOVER: God presents to us other men (Moses, Elijah, Jonah, Paul) who experienced great suffering and despaired life. Yet these men persevered. Why do you think He allowed us this window into their souls?
DO: The Bible says there is a time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8), even a season of sorrow. Do a study of the Book of Job and see how God allows suffering to produce spiritual growth and intimacy with Him.
Lisa Supp lives in Utah and has served within the CCFL Web and Prayer Ministry since 2011. She also volunteers as an editor on the CCFL Prayer Wall and is a writer on the Communications Team. Retired from teaching, Lisa and her husband Ron volunteer at their local Calvary Chapel and share a passion for Scripture, apologetics, and education.