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?