JOB’S RESPONSE AND RESTORATION
“And the Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning.”
Job 42:12 (ESV)
Job’s story is one of Scripture’s most poignant and detailed narratives regarding someone going through a crisis. It explores the limits of a person’s response in the midst of personal suffering, and the community’s reaction. ‘Job’s trust in his Redeemer is a clear and distinctive theme.’1
The majority of Job’s account consists of the dialogue between Job and his friends, where they go back and forth asking and answering lifequestions. Finally, Job demands an audience with God. God shows up alright, and when he does, He becomes the master questioner asking, ‘Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?’ (ESV, Job 38:4). After spending time in the presence of God, Job stops asking questions and essentially repents of one thing-claiming to know too much. Upon doing this, God restores everything back to Job, blessing his latter part greater than the first.
So, what can we learn from Job?2 First, we have to remember that Job’s response is not a formula for ending suffering, rather, an example of how one righteous man deals with tragedy. It is important to note that there are experiences in life when suffering persists (terminal illnesses, for one). In this, God is still God, and we are still His people (Ps. 100:3). Second, it seems evident that ‘Why?’ questions are not necessarily bad, but trust, without answers, is a higher path. ‘Every [life situation] must be brought to speech, and everything brought to speech must be addressed to God, who is the final reference for all of life.’3 Yet, we must never claim to know what we cannot know or try to explain what God has left unclear. In suffering, we should seek to remain loyal and ask God to help us trust that He is in control of our lives. What is more, this trust and loyalty is what helps us to grow closer to the Redeemer.
Practical Application: Are there any questions that you keep demanding God to answer? Consider reading God’s response to Job (38-41). What is your reaction to God’s response?