Hope Amidst Suffering: The Neglected Wisdom of Job

Just over a year and a half ago, I made the greatest decision of my life, to get married to the love of my Life, Caroline. In many ways, our marriage felt long overdue, but also rushed. As I still had a year left in my undergrad, we both knew that there would be tremendous burdens, difficulties, and compromises that would have to be dealt with. Little did either of us know that the following 600 days would also hold major heartache, trauma, and uncertainty.

In such a short amount of time, the two of us have dealt with crippling physical ailments, depression, financial troubles, property theft, untimely and traumatic deaths, loss of friendships, forty-eight hours in the ER, a week in the hospital, car failures, a miscarriage, changing multiple jobs, extreme anxiety, unpaid bills, and, as I write this, an unexpected three-week stent of homelessness. And through all of this, we have had and cherished one another, knowing that it would have been impossible otherwise. Ministers often preach a happy-go-lucky attitude towards life that bluntly seems fanciful; however, through it all, I can safely say that, through all of the ups and downs, God is, was, and will forever be good.

While at work one Wednesday morning, I got the call from Caroline that we would not be buying our house, 5 days before closing, and 4 days before leaving our rental. Crushed, shocked, and afraid, I hung up the phone and whispered, “I feel like Job.” For two years, a paragraph of disasters hit our little family when all we ever tried to do was please and edify our Lord. More than ever, I had felt like the universe owed us this one. We had been dealt too many bad hands. I was immediately reminded of Job 13:3 in which Job, defending himself against his friend’s accusations, states, “I desire to speak to the Almighty and to argue my case with God.” As I was in the midst of teaching the book of Job in my men’s Bible study, God spoke the truth of the book over my life in a much deeper way than any commentary ever could.

As a refresher, the book of Job tells of a sinless man, fully blameless and without evil, that has his possessions, family, and health taken away from him, despite his character. The main body of the book is a collection of discourses between Job and his friends with the latter stating that the man’s folly was judgement for his sinful behavior. This book conquers an ignorant perception of God that suggests His justice acts in the way of karma, the just are rewarded and wicked punished; however, God, at the end of the book, defends Himself by simply showing the complexities of creation, and His limitless power, wisdom, and knowledge to rule over it.  Thus, just as God does not operate under a concept such as karma, His wisdom also cannot be so easily comprehended by finite beings. While it may seem counterintuitive, suffering is still subservient to God’s holiness, so that, even in trials and anguish, God’s goodness permeates it and rises as victor. Even amid our suffering, God enters in and shows His people that, while our sorrow can be great, He is greater. Therefore, we can rejoice in our suffering, and echo the Psalmist, “O taste and see that the Lord is good.”

So often, we simply belittle the wisdom of the Lord and try to confine it to our own intellect and understanding. While in the trials and pains, it seems unfair; however, on the other side, I can always see the outpouring of God’s wisdom and can’t help but exclaim, “God is good.” It might sound cliché, and in no means do I want to demean what you may be going through, but know that God, in His infinite wisdom, loves you more than comprehension, and He is good.

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