Bible Society of South Africa
Louise Gevers

Walking with God – Day 7

Walking with God patiently: Job

Bible text(s)

11We call them happy because they endured. You have heard of Job's patience, and you know how the Lord provided for him in the end. For the Lord is full of mercy and compassion.

James 5:11GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Bible records the relationship God has with his creation and displays the remarkable rapport that many individuals from different walks of life experience with him. Each one is created with a unique purpose, just as we are, and the Bible addresses every imaginable situation in life without idealising the people within its pages, thus giving us helpful insights for when we experience similar situations.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10) – this is our key when we experience rough patches and feel disheartened, helpless or hopeless. When through no fault of our own, our circumstances are difficult and the people who could be helping us are conspiring against us, we need to check our relationship with God and acknowledge our pain to him. God is unchanging and gives us the option of walking closely with him through each situation.

Job was known as “blameless and upright … he feared God and shunned evil” (Job 1:1) and, yet, he suffered greatly. He found himself in a dire situation because, although he was very wealthy, had been blessed with many children and was regarded as “the greatest man among all the people of the East” (Job 1:3), he lost everything in quick succession: his servants, his animals and his ten children. Although overwhelmed with grief, his faith in God sustained him and he responded with worship, declaring: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised” (Job 1:21). He also suffered “with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head” and a callous wife whose advice was to “curse God and die” (Job 2:9).

We struggle to understand this. We can understand that through bad choices, a person might bring suffering on himself, but we find it hard to understand why a “good” person suffers. God shows us, however, that he is with us and shapes us through suffering. Nobody escapes, just like he “causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:45). It is not what happens, but how we deal with it that counts. We can emerge from heartache, illness and injustice stronger and deepened in our understanding of God and ourselves. If we have confessed and repented of bad choices we have made, we will feel light of heart and freed of our burdens.

God tests our character as he did Job’s. Can we trust and honour God in our suffering? “‘Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?’” (Job 2:10)

Job trusted God at the deepest level throughout his suffering and God restored him fully. His experience demonstrates how knowing God is far more valuable than having answers.

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