God Will Help You Triumph Over Despair!
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I don’t like the story of Job. It’s my least favorite book in the Bible. Yes, I know there’s restoration in the end. But what about the tragedy of losing his children? He also loses his health and wealth, his wife tells him to curse God and die, and he feels death might be the better option.
And his so-called friends tell him he’s the reason everything fell apart. They even speak lies about God (that God refutes in Job 42:7). So, Job’s life saddens and angers me because even the restorative ending is bittersweet: the same children who were taken would never return.
These days, I crave comedy. A good ol’ rom-com, classic TV sitcom, or even a lighthearted Shakespearean play. But drama? No, thank you.
Many of us have probably had our share of grief, especially over the past few years. My much-loved cousin, plus some cherished coworkers, passed away during the pandemic. Before that horrible season, others at different points in time, including, most recently, a beloved family friend.
Really, I understand that’s how life is on Earth. Kind of like staying in a no-frills motel on the way to the palace. We live in a fallen world with only hints of heaven and not much time.
And it does no good to compare your grief to someone else’s and tell yourself to snap out of it—because everyone’s weight of suffering is different. Whether your heart is broken from the death of loved ones or even from rejection, for example, or your spirit is crushed from being caught in war or human trafficking, the heaviness of it all can be overwhelming.
Certainly, Job’s heaviness of spirit in the middle of devastation must have made him feel hopeless. And maybe you feel the same way. Different circumstances, both excruciating, needing relief.
If you’re in that place now, read again what Job went through. The deep sorrow he felt reminds us that we are not alone in our own trials.
Next, travel over to Isaiah 53 and read the prophetic words about the suffering Christ—and then to the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion. Consider what Jesus went through. Because what Job 16:10 describes is exactly what happened to Him.
“People jeer and laugh at me. They slap my cheek in contempt. A mob gathers against me.” (Job 16:10 NLT)
Once you connect Job’s story with Jesus, you’ll see that God turns every bit of what the enemy meant for evil into something good eventually. Yes, there will always be types of Good Fridays in each person’s life. But there can also be Resurrection Sundays too.
Part of the agony in reading Job’s story is knowing life was never supposed to be like that here. The Garden of Eden was perfect!
Myles Munroe, a guest speaker at a church I once visited, said that Earth was like a baby’s nursery, with clouds for a mobile. And Jesse DuPlantis, in Close Encounters of the God Kind, says that Earth is God’s taste, that everything He likes is here, that the good is a reflection of heaven. I love those images, especially on trying days.
Because in the end, no matter what kind of pain we experience on Earth, we know deep in our spirit that heaven awaits us, God is good, and that He is able to lift our burdens to make life right again somehow, just as Job saw in his life’s turnaround: So the Lord blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning (Job 42:12). Only God can walk us through our “valley of death” scenarios, break us free from the enemy’s entanglements, and breathe new life into us.
Does contemplating the book of Job make me like it any better? No. It does not. But I appreciate it more—like a still-good ointment found in an old, be-there-when-you-need-it first-aid kit.
Dear Jesus, help us to remember Your goodness, and to receive Your healing, comfort, and restoration in Your way and in Your timing. Amen.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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