Today’s passage is a continuation of Job’s response to his friend. It drips with melancholy. He is in the middle of intense suffering and he is crying out in desperate anguish. There are two things that stuck out to me in this passage that I’d like to key in on to (hopefully) encourage you today.
First, life is short “days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle…life is but a breath” (6 & 7). However, that’s not where Job ends, he defiantly says, “I will not keep silent” (11). If you remember from early in the book, Satan wants Job to curse God. Right here, he seems to come pretty close. Yet, he’s not so much railing at God as pleading an honest prayer of suffering.
When Paul says in Romans 5 that we “boast” or “rejoice” in suffering, he doesn’t mean that we act as though suffering is painless or some sort of treat. Job makes the point that when life ends it ends, and he is determined to tell his friends and God that when something hurts it hurts. I do think Christian maturity is necessary in how our honesty is shared, but if you’re going through something God already knows, so why not talk to Him about it.
Also, this idea reminds us that our time is limited and if there is anything you need to say to anybody, you better giddy-up. It may be an apology or reconciliation, or it may be somebody who’s salvation is in question. Whatever comes to mind right now, don’t remain silent.
The second thing I’d like to mention is Job’s perspective on his suffering. We’ve seen God’s perspective, but we hear Job’s perspective clearly in verses 19 & 20. While the Bible speaks of sowing and reaping, Karma is not a thing. Sin always has consequences, but suffering is not always a result of sin. Job’s friends accuse Job of sin, but Job has no idea if or when he sinned. In verse 20 he asks, “What have I done?” This isn’t the kid with his hand in the cookie jar. Job seems to want a genuine answer.
The theology of “suffering only because of sin” has led many people to say, “Well, you must have deserved that,” which doesn’t illustrate the compassion of the Lord. Suffering is a difficult topic, but standing proud and accusing someone who is suffering isn’t good. Even if they’re experiencing the consequences of sin, they’re only getting what all of us deserve apart from Christ.
Our compassion is motivated, first, in the recognition that God has done more for me through Christ than I can ever imagine. Compassion is sharing the love you’ve experienced with others—redemptive love, healing love, irrevocable love. Our compassion should not be without wisdom. I’ve known a lot of parents and grandparents who enable their kids in sin because they “love” them. Love doesn’t enable someone to sin. However, neither does love shut out the sinner. The balance is incredibly difficult and almost impossible to perfectly achieve (and you need a lot of outside wisdom). Our love should model God’s, filled with grace and truth.
In conclusion, Job’s suffering illustrates what many people go through. Because of pain, theology gets distorted. However, we can speak honestly with God and we can trust that He will never waste our suffering.
By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate