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How could Job keep a strong faith in the midst of extreme suffering?

To listen to Nancy's answer recorded from Moody Radio, click here

The book of Job is the oldest book of the Bible. Job was a man with great faith in God. He prayed for his family and led a good life. Satan thought that Job would walk away from his faith if God removed the things in his life that he loved including his children, all his belongings and his health. God gave Satan permission to test the faith of Job but not kill him. Satan removed everything from Job, but Job did not walk away from God. Instead, he said in Job 13:15, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him.”

Who of us could have such faith and trust in the Lord in the worst times of our life?

We tend to doubt and question God’s goodness and faithfulness when in a hard season of life through our struggle with illness or when our plans and our hopes are dashed. Before we feel too sorry for ourselves, take a look at Job. He had lost all of his children, his wealth, and his health. His friends were of no help. His wife offered no support by suggesting that he should curse God and die. He felt all alone; he thought his life was over.

Why didn’t Job give up hope?

He didn’t give up because he knew his God and trusted him with all things. Job knew that whatever he was going through that God could have stopped it but instead allowed it for His glory. He was a respectful man who did not see himself above others and knew that God is sovereign and can do all things to and for him which included the good and the bad. Job knew that God loved him and had a purpose for all that He allowed to him experience. He knew that “God brings death and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and raises up.” (1 Samuel 2:6)

Job may not have understood what was happening to him and the why behind it, but he knew that God is always good, always loving and always trustworthy.

Job realized his pain was not permanent. God would provide a way to get through it. The suffering of this life is temporary and will not last forever for those who trust in the Lord. After this life, there is eternal life with God in heaven.

Job knew that God is a personal God, and because of Job’s belief, he knew that he could approach God in his pain and have a conversation with Him. Job claimed to be innocent and then overstepped his bounds by claiming he was without sin. We can learn so much from this story by understanding that none of us are without sin and assuming such a thing is a sin. Eventually, he humbled himself and admitted that he was a sinner. “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.” (Job 42:3) He concludes, “I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:6)

The lesson from this story of Job is that we too can trust God when life appears to be over. When we know beyond our circumstances, fears and human expectations, that God has a bigger plan for our lives that we cannot see or understand, our journey through hard times can be softened with peace and hope. Instead of seeking to defend ourselves before God, Job’s experience shows us we can instead ask forgiveness for our sin. He has a perfect plan in place, and “by life or by death,” may Christ be exalted.

We can also learn that choosing Godly friends who speak with wisdom is critical. That includes having a mate that is a strong believer and can weather the hard times with us instead of encouraging us to give up.

“He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” (Proverbs 13:20)

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