Meaning Of Suffering in The Book Of Job
When you get a cut you learn what suffering is. We are introduced to the idea that suffering is being in the state of mind that deals with pain. Everyone is destined to suffer one way or another. Suffering can come in many ways- physical or mental. We cope with suffering by changing our thinking and resisting the pain. Yet, the only way we can surpass suffering is by positively responding to it. By knowing to correct our mental state we have the wisdom to overcome it. Throughout the Bible, we see various books such as Proverbs, Eccalestias, and Job that offer a unique perspective of how God test literal characters’ faith. In the book of Job, it is demonstrated that righteousness does not exempt a person from the hardship of life. Even glorified souls can be subjected to catastrophic events even though they have not committed any sins. The “blameless” and “upright” loyal servant Job is used as an example for the harshness of God. It is in the extreme losses of God taking everything away from him, that he can show true faithfulness. Job becomes a precedent for resilience in the series of tragic events he suffered. I believe that God’s motive’s to test Job’s faith is not with cruelty but rather to push the good to rely on that which is of utmost importance in this life, their faith. However, Job as a human doubts God’s wisdom because he is counseled by his friends Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and Elihu who represent human temptations which are fleeting and unfulfilling. Ultimately, the book of Job teaches the value of those who are resilient in their beliefs.
God allows Job to suffer, not out of cruelty, but to set a precedent that a good person can overcome adversity if he or she is faithful to God. Job is resilient and true to God and believes that is worth it to lose everything even though he’s at a disadvantage. After reading the book of Job, I asked myself will God’s loyal servants continue a graceful relationship with God after God has taken their riches and prized possessions away, or will they be weak and lose their faith in God? Job lost everything including his family “While he was still speaking, another came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house, 19and suddenly a great wind came across the desert, struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; I alone have escaped to tell you”, yet I can see how he bounced back after he went from having everything to nothing (Job 1.18-19). From what I understood from the reading God allowed Job to suffer, not because he deserved it but rather to set a principle that even his “blameless” and “upright” servant will still fear God despite the mental and physical pain Job went through. Soon after Job suffered great physical pain “Job took a potsherd to scrape himself, and sat among the ashes” (Job 2.8). Even so, Job’s true character, a loyal servant, blessed God despite the suffering he goes through and goes against his wife’s saying and still respects God.
I believe Job is truly faithful to God. Hypothetically, If it was any other human beings that did not fear God, they would have fallen into cursing God and would have lost their faith. Yet, Job was resilient and found a light at the end of the tunnel despite his whole world was collapsing. After all, Job prayed for his friend’s evil interpretations on why God punished Job, and the Lord “gave Job twice as much as he had before” (Job 42.10). I find it compelling that Job’s role sets an example that having a relationship with God and truly honoring Him will ultimately reward the loyal servant. However, it was not easy for Job to get to the point of being a reward because as a human he was tempted to dishonor God and curse him through the influence of his friends.
Although God tests Job’s faith, Job does not give in to his friends and even his wife’s reason why he is suffering; despite how loyal he was to God which shows how humans can fall into temptation if you aren’t in the path of the Lord. Yet, Job emphasizes God’s greatness and realizes that God allows suffering only so we can examine our own lives and see how we can live for him during hard times. Job’s friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and Elihu consolidated, emphasized with him and gave him lengthy speeches on why God is punishing him. Eliphaz claimed that God was punishing Job as consequences of sinning by saying “As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same” (Job 4.8). Eliphaz believed that if Job was such a good man, he should not suffer God’s wrath rather live of life of blessings. Not only did Eliphaz believe Job’s suffering was because he must have sinned but Zophar and Bildad believe it too. I think Job’s friends are not wrong for thinking that rather are thinking thoroughly because all they have none is if you sin against God and do something against God, He will punish you and released His wrath upon the sinner. Clearly, Job’s friends don’t understand how God works in mysterious. Hence, Jobs’ friend, Elihu, seems to be the only one to understand God’s greatness when he says “ I will answer you: God is greater than any mortal” and that God is only making Job suffer to strengthen their trust and faith in Him. It can be seen that Job’s friends symbolize human temptations of doubting God’s decisions because if they were as faithful as they said they were, they would have just said that it is God’s purpose to do what he finds right in Job’s life. And if it is suffering then let it be it, but have hope for the light at the end of the tunnel.
However, what makes Job a faithful, loyal servant is how resilient he is and how he responds to his friends. He is charismatic and asks God for forgiveness despite how wrong his friend’s judgments were, “So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did what the LORD had told them; and the LORD accepted Job’s prayer” (Job 42.9). I find how God works in mysterious ways by using Job as an example for generations to come that as humans we should not question God’s motives. Job’s life was about being devoted to God and only God. After reading Job, it is hard not to imagine at what extremes Job would go for God, but God intends to show that the only way to have victory is to hold a relationship with Him. Just like Job held a relationship with God through the catastrophic events Job went through, God would want his followers to do the same thing. Therefore, God’s followers start to receive God’s wisdom and divinity more fully once they realize that God can take everything away from you, but it is really up to you how you decide to bounce back from such a tragedy. Either you prosper and hold on to God’s hand as Job did, or you fail miserably and you take your path; the path God does not want his followers to take.
One may ask themselves: What is the meaning of human suffering? Well after reading the book of Job I know have a deeper understanding of what it is because of the lesson that the book of Job teaches. Although God used Job to set a precedent for future generations that even a righteous person is not liberated from hardships; Job is resilient and honors his moral values by honoring God.
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