The Book of Job is harsh, cold, senseless at times, depressing most of the time, and an in-your-face kind of book. It is not easily understood and the wording is so difficult at times that one can easily get lost. Simply keeping up with who is speaking with whom is mind boggling through the absurd conversations. With relentless pain in my life, the Book of Job has been like holding a mirror up and examining the intense meaning of the why’s and the how’s of life and God.
Studying the Book of Job can be a mind twister and a heart breaker and a soul strengthener all at the same time. It is worth every effort put forth to examine it. The revelations can provide great comfort and insight while walking through deeply intense pain and suffering in our lives.
Let’s start with some good news – Things can change
Those of us with chronic illness and/or trauma from abuse have usually suffered for many years, some decades, some their whole lives. At any point, things can change. Sometimes decades later, sometimes months later, sometimes only days later.
The Book of Job can give us hope that no matter how bad it gets, things can change. God has already worked out His perfect plan, not only for our lives, but for His Kingdom. His plan is already in motion, always has been, always will be. We are not doomed to only what we can see in our lives.
Although it is not clearly stated how long Job suffered, there may be a clue in Job 7:3.
“…so I have been allotted months of futility, and nights of misery have been assigned to me.” ~ Job 7:3 NIV
Sometimes I am a very literal person and when Job says months, he literally means months. This may or may not be the case here. His reference to “months” here may not even have any chronological meaning.
“He terms them months, rather than days, to signify the tediousness of his affliction. And wearisome nights — He mentions nights, because that is the saddest time for sick and miserable persons; the darkness and solitude of the night being of themselves uncomfortable, and giving them more opportunity for solemn and sorrowful reflections.” ~ Bible Hub – Benson Commentary
Regardless of the exact amount of time that Job suffered deeply, it is clearly stated that the situation changed. He moved through it, drug through part of it kicking and screaming, but his life did change.
Who can number the days of suffering? What about the ongoing loss of his children? God later gives Job 10 more children but children cannot just simply be replaced. Life did change for Job, life did go on, but the fact remains that the loss in his life was substantial and most likely felt to his dying day.
Numbering the days of pain and suffering seems futile to me. It is hard to determine when our suffering starts and when it may or may not end. What seems more significant to me is how we choose to get on with the matter at hand, moving through the trials and on to the service of God today.
Do we live under or above our circumstances?
When I was able to see that “under my circumstances” is only phrase, I was able to watch God lift me above them. Nothing is bigger than the Almighty, so why would I allow a circumstance to cover me? Why would I be “under” these circumstances if I truly believe in God?
We can watch Job flow through being above his circumstances before this event by his righteousness. Then he dipped under his circumstances, allowing them to cover him in his despair and wanting to die. Then the glory of our sovereign God rising Job out the covering of perceived circumstances and into the humility of the unknown, yet trusting God for everything.
No, Job was not imagining that he lost everything. Yes, he was suffering real loss. Yes, he was in a real situation of loss of children, employees, friends, wealth, property, home, and health. Yet he always knew that God gave those to him and had the right to remove them at any time.
My world is one of hearing from others (and living it out myself) of intense pain and suffering from real life situations. They are real, they are not perceived. Yet, it is the mind-boggling soul-stretching challenge to rise above by strengthening our faith beyond what we can imagine.
We do NOT live in unavoidable doom!!!!
For me, removing that concept of “circumstances,” that covering that kept me down and powerless, helped me connect to the power of God, for His glory, not mine. Things are rarely only what they appear. I understand little, but I do understand that my “circumstances” are not all what they appear, I am not confined to doom.
I smile as I see the hope I blindly see.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” ~ Hebrews 11:1 NIV
- God’s ways are more dimensional than my imagination.
- God’s power and glory reign louder than I can hear.
- God’s kingdom is more vast than my vision.
- God’s love reaches far beyond my concept of emotions.
- God’s grace easily squashes all of the “circumstances” of life here on earth.
- God means everything, circumstances mean nothing.
God’s Word means everything.
Can we grow from our deep pain and suffering? Even when our bodies, friends and family are failing, can we rise above it all to reach the hand of God that He so willingly offers? Can we accept His nourishment for our souls during a time of cataclysmic suffering?
Maribeth Baxter, MBNC (Certified Mind-Body Nourishment Coach)
Dig deeper, learn more:
- Deep study of the Book of Job by Charles Swindoll
- Listen to FREE audio (sign up with email) FREE Book of Job Audio
- Large-Print Bible – while we are chronically ill, we usually have vision issues
I have NO affiliation with any of the above three resources.