Job’s Story: Message of Hope

When we think of Job, his disasters come immediately to mind. We think of his lost businesses of camels, sheep, and agriculture, of his employees defending his interests to the death. We think of his children–all lost. “He went through so much,” we say. “He lost everything, yet still praised the Lord,” we marvel. “How did he suffer so much, and yet not crack?” we want to know.

As a result of his losses, Job despaired of his life. But he also got better, met the Lord, and found restoration. That’s the real message of hope people today need. How he did that, or how the Lord did that in Job’s life is something I’ve thought about for a long time.  In fact, I’m writing a  book about Job’s recovery. My aim is to use Job’s story to help people feel hope as they struggle with the tragedies, disasters, and losses that beset us all at one time or another. I contend the book was written to help people struggling with guilt for having sinned. In reality, we experience a lot of suffering for which we are not responsible.

The book of Job, however, is complicated: three Rounds of arguments, with each Friend speaking three times, and with Job’s rebuttal after each Friend speaks. Readers get lost. Also, nobody  listens to Job, so readers skip to the end, or give up. In the meantime they miss the way Job overcomes depression, anger, paranoia, and grief, as well as the support his friends do provide.

Have you tried reading through the Book of Job? Have you given up? Where to you see hope in Job’s story?

Google+ Comments

About Gordon Grose

Gordon Grose loves most to write, speak, and preach on the message of hope from the book of Job. Using drama, video, and PowerPoint, he has preached and presented this message of hope to churches around the country. Grose pastored three congregations 25 years, then served 12 years as a pastoral counselor in a Portland, Oregon counseling clinic. He now serves with Good Samaritan Counseling Services, Beaverton, OR. A graduate of Wheaton College (IL), Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Brandeis University, and Boston University, he comes from a rich and varied background in theological and counseling training. In 2015, Gordon published Tragedy Transformed: How Job's Recovery Can Provide Hope For Yours, a book about turning to Job for hope after tragedy. If you have experienced life challenges or personal tragedy, visit his Transforming Tragedy (gordongrose.com) blog to learn more. TragedyTransformed.com provides a sample of Gordon's speaking as well as an opportunity to purchase copies of his book.
This entry was posted in Friend of Job, Hope for the Hurting, Recovery. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Job’s Story: Message of Hope

  1. Patti Russell says:

    I’ve succeeded in reading the beginning and ending chapters of Job. The discussions with Job’s friends are hard to understand. I have felt hope in the story as it says Job’s suffering was due to forces beyond him and was not his fault. That’s a burden lifted. When God talks to Job at the ending chapter, He basically says “who do you think you are, that you expect to understand why I do what I do.” I find it a relief to realize that we can’t figure out the whys, but perhaps we will understand eventually in eternity.

    • Gordon Grose says:

      Patti, Thanks for your comments. I think many people respond to the Book of Job in the way you did. The discussions with the friends are hard to follow. God does seem to be putting Job “in his place” at the end. Although the work is dense with closely reasoned argumentation, the friends argue from wisdom teaching which stresses that righteousness brings blessing (and its corollary), whereas Job argues from his experience of innocence (at least as far as not deserving what he received-he doesn’t deny he’s a sinner like all people). They try to convince him to repent. He gives up on them and turns his attention to a legal confrontation with God.
      When God speaks with Job, he actually addresses some 15 specific statements Job had asserted in the course of his speeches. The overall impact of his speeches is to disabuse Job of the notion that he (or any of us) can expect fairness in life. Fairness and the doctrine of retribution (righteousness=blessing) apply nowhere in nature. At times, life is even chaotic, subject only to God’s control.
      I hope these comments help. I know you speak for many with the questions you raise. Thanks. Gordon

  2. Patti Russell says:

    Thanks, I think I could read the arguments and perhaps understand Job. This belief that righteousness results in prosperity is not one I hear from Christians today. The responses I hear are more “don’t be sad, be happy.” This comes across in comments like: “you need to get over this and on with your life,” or “you need to do something to make yourself better” or “it’s not that bad.” I fortunately remember my Bible verses that say, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven; … a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” (Ecc 3:4) Then there is Psm 56:8 “You have kept count of my wanderings, put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?” This is a life that embrace pain as part of life. It doesn’t run from it with antidepressants (which I do take) or buying stuff or trips or alcohol. My grief and loss doesn’t need to be dictated by the needs of others who are perhaps afraid of loss. I do grasp a need for a healthy balance with grief, so it doesn’t defeat one. The yin and yan visual actually helps me keep this focus. There is nothing like the friend who weeps with you. They are a gift from God and a rare treasure. They are the blessing provided that is ones “daily bread.” This is “truth.”

  3. Patti Russell says:

    I’m reminded of the verse that says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.” (Jhn 15:15) I give my fellow human freedom to not love like God loved. Where does love end and martyrdom begin?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title="" rel=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>