Today in the Orthodox Church we celebrate Job the long-suffering. For a long time I didn’t understand why so many Christians talk about Job. I had heard brief summaries of his story, but had not read the Book of Job until last year. Going through some tough times, I thought I would find some sympathy, but instead I finally figured out why Job is so important to Christianity and life in general.
In case you don’t know, Job was a prosperous man who lived with a love and fear of God. Then God allowed the devil to tempt his faith taking away his livestock, home, wife and children. Job even lost his health, but when his friends came to mock him and announce that he must have sinned terribly to be punished thus, Job kept his faith and gave glory to God. After this the devil was defeated and God helped Job rebuild an even more prosperous life than he had before. It is so much more detailed and better to read the full text, this is just a very basic and general summary.
I thought there would be sympathy and commiserating with all that Job went through, but instead the implication is temptations and suffering are part of living. They are not a punishment, they are an opportunity. Think about in the environment… a big beautiful forest grows for a hundred years, prospering for all the forest plants and creatures, then lighting strikes just the right tree and the whole habitat burns, some creatures die and the landscape is scarred. It is easy to look at that as punishment, but it does not take much time before vegetation and creatures start making their way back to the area and growing into the same beautiful forest.
Job helped me to see that in my own life and challenges, if I stop dwelling on how bad things are for me (which really aren’t that bad) and look for opportunities to grow, giving glory to God and giving all that I can for those around me the challenges will work themselves out. Everyone will go through some form of suffering, everyone has baggage or disappointments, it is a part of life but we can choose to dwell in misery or grow and prosper.
Job 1:21 “Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I shall return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. As it seemed good to the Lord, so also it came to pass. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Have you been focusing on the negative? Do you feel like you are being punished? Lets talk about it and find the True Light even in seemingly dark times.