Advent 2015: Born Is The King: Day 16

Jesus Is The True & Better Job

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Today's Text: Job 1:1-22, 1 Peter 2:21-25, 1 Peter 3:18

Text: Job 1:1-22, 1 Peter 2:21-25, 1 Peter 3:18 

Every Missouri farm girl like me knows what a cocklebur is, but since not every woman is a muck boots-wearin’, four-wheeler-ridin’ farmer, here’s a country girl crash course. Cockleburs are tiny, spiky black thistles that fuse themselves to you when you walk through the woods. They stick to your socks and boots, your pants and shirt, your dog and your children. Though not nearly as tasty, they work like nature’s taffy. The more you try to pull free of them, the more stuck you become.

It’s enough to make even the hillbilliest farm girl dream of life in the cocklebur-free big city.

But those little, spiky shells house a seed. The barbs cling to passersby and are spread far and wide. Sure, they inflict some minor “suffering” on their host, but it is not suffering without purpose. It is an ingenious method of perpetuating life.

My aversion to cockleburs is almost as strong as my aversion to the book of Job. It never gets easier to read. Here’s Job’s glowing resume:

“[Job] was a man of perfect integrity, who feared God and turned away from evil… Job was the greatest man among all the people of the east.”
- Job 1:1,3

If a good man is hard to find, Job was that anomaly. He deserved an award. Instead, he lost his children, his fortune, and his health—he lost everything. Not just a suffering servant, Job seems to be a senselessly suffering servant.

If someone like Job is going to endure so much, I want it to be a means to an end. The phrase “everything happens for a reason” is born out of our desperation to look into Job-like suffering and see purpose. We all want our suffering to mean something. We want other people’s suffering to mean something, too. It’s why we offer hollow platitudes in hospital rooms and funeral homes. We are all like Job’s friends, so desperate to find purpose in pain that we sometimes say stupid things.

I want Job’s story to end with the creation of an organization or foundation that changed the world. I want to read that millions of people came to worship Job’s God for the first time because he suffered so well. But Job’s story doesn’t give us the happy ending we crave. Sure, the things he lost were restored, but we are left to wonder whether his suffering accomplished a higher purpose. The cockleburs that stuck to Job don’t deliver the meaning I want them to.

But Jesus is the true and better Job.

Jesus suffered more than I can wrap my human mind around. He was beaten, bloodied, humiliated, scorned, crucified, and killed (Matthew 27:27-31). Yes, Job was a righteous man, but he was ultimately a sinner, incapable of keeping God’s holy standards. Not Jesus. He never sinned, not once. And yet, He suffered unimaginably. Jesus’ sinlessness makes His suffering unbearable unless we look past the Cross to what it accomplished:

“For Christ also suffered for sins once for all,
the righteous for the unrighteous,
that He might bring you to God,
after being put to death in the fleshly realm
but made alive in the spiritual realm.”
- 1 Peter 3:18

Job’s suffering was an answer to the Enemy’s accusation. Jesus suffered to silence the Accuser forever (Job 1:9-11, 1 Corinthians 15:55). Job was wounded, seemingly to no higher end. Jesus was pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our sins (Isaiah 53:5). The book of Job ends without an explanation for His suffering. Jesus’ life ended to fix creation’s biggest problem: sin.

Infinitely more miraculous than a forest full of cockleburs, Christ’s work on the cross carried salvation across all time and for all who would repent and believe. Jesus’ suffering gave us life. His pain made a way for the redemptive ending I am so desperate for.

Jesus was a suffering servant, but not a servant who suffered senselessly. His unimaginable suffering was for our immeasurable relief. Thanks you, Jesus.

Erin Davis is a popular author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.

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  • I am thanking God for this post today. I am being rejected by some friends and it’s been very hard. I have seen Satan all over this situation. I am praying and believing that these relationships won’t be “dead” in the end. I know it’s a possibility because Satan comes to kill, steal and destroy. I know in eternity all is restored. I can’t even have a conversation with them because they refuse. Help me Jesus to remember I never lose you no matter what. I will keep my eyes on you knowing that you care for me. I keep trying to figure out and explain the purpose of the mess before me, I am going to rest and trust you.

    • Lisa Marie

      Wendy, I am living what you speak. It’s been 2 years and I’m still met with complete silence. We may never get the ending we’re looking for, but keep seeking God. I am praying for you now. ::hugs::

  • I’m behind in my reading here, but one thing stood out to me. The age old question of why God allows bad things to happen to good people. Right here in Job 1:12. God permitted Satan to do just what he want to do to Job, except to hurt him physically. So when people ask why God has allowed pain and suffering in our lives, its not God, but Satan. Because of our sins and everyday we sin even when we think we are being righteous, Satan is walking in our lives, ready to pounce in our weakest monents. In our suffering, we must turn our eyes upon God our Father, just as the One who was without sin, did on the cross. He was born to save us. Thank you Jesus.

  • Stephanie

    Today I found out that I didn’t get a job I was really praying for. This reminded me that my experience is barely even suffering, and pointed me toward the one who did suffer for me.

    • Melicia Bosnjak

      I’m sorry to hear that! What a great reminder and perspective. But at the same time, even with the pain he carried, the Savior feels yours just as you do! I hope that is a comfort and that a better opportunity is down the way.

      • Crizia

        I am halfway around the world and feel your pain Stephanie. I would also like to thank Melicia for expressing your kind words as it also spoke to my heart. It is a great reminder that God is near the crushed in spirit and also feels our pain. The King of kings stoops down to our level and loves us with an extravagant love. We may never know why certain things happen, but we can always count on God because He loves us so much and desires only the best for us.

        Thank you for your courage to speak out about this. (Even if it may seem “small”) :)

  • I keep coming back to it, something about it sort of “bothers” me. My mind and heart have never considered that Job’s suffering had no purpose; at the end he was reassured of who God is and he continued to believe & trust God and that in and of itself is a huge purpose. God is not obligated to us to give us His purpose in suffering yet many times Scripture does. And what I am thankful to know is God revealed Himself to Job and He will do the same for me – I know when I have difficult times in my life – God and His Word become more precious and encouraging and convicting – and it all increases my realization that I must depend on God for every hour, every minute. If that is the only purpose, it’s a needed one. And aren’t we all thankful God chose to put this story of Job’s life in HIs Word to us – even though, I do agree, it is hard to read and understand from our human perspectives!! Thanks for just letting me share this – I am truly enjoying the Advent devo – and YES, YES!!!! Jesus is the true and better Job!!

  • I think what I find most comforting in the story of Job and then Jesus being the true and better Job is both that Christ suffered for us, but also suffers with us. And so though we go through sufferings that can seem senseless, be can defeat that agony of feeling as though we are alone in it. because we have a Saviour who is well acquainted with grief. thank you Lord for never leaving nor forsaking us, especially in our suffering.

    • Angela

      Thank you for this comment, it’s just what I needed to hear this morning. God is good.

  • I am a little late to the follow up, I know, and yet I want to share! Job’s suffering did feel senseless through most of the book, and although his family and things were restored after the fact, the ‘sense’ that God shows us, through Job’s suffering, is seen in the last chapter, 42:5, where Job confesses that before all of this suffering had happened, “I ha(d) heard of You by the hearing of the ear;
    But now my eye sees You;” Meaning, he knew God in a whole new, deeper, clearer way because of this journey of pain, than he had ever known Him before. My point is, in perspective, Job’s suffering brought him (and only him) closer to God, and Jesus’ suffering brought all of us closer to Him.

    • Erin

      I love this thought, Kelly! Thank you for sharing :)

    • Monisola

      I totally agree with this thought, while I read through this I kept saying to myself there was purpose in Job’s pain. Thanks for sharing.

      • Andrea

        Absolutely! Sometimes our suffering is the only thing that builds our relationship with God. I think Job’s suffering had a purpose for him and his faith. That is enough of a purpose to endure it.

      • Lisa Marie

        I felt the same way! Happy to hear someone else had the same thoughts/feelings.

  • Wonderful, wonderful devotional! Thank you, Erin! Profound comparisons I will be pondering on.

    And thank You, Jesus, for your suffering that brought us life. Praise God!

  • Mattie Keltner

    When looking at Job, I often find myself fearful. I fear losing a loved one, or a dream, or a treasure. When thinking of these fears I try to acknowledge that God is good, and he will use whatever future trials to draw me closer to Him, but I am afraid that a trial will come where I cannot see His goodness. My prayer today is that I will not live from this place of fear. God show me what it means to live like Job. Show me what it means to live life with open hands, a life letting go of my treasures and having confidence in your plan and your goodness.

  • I feel I’ve been pretty selfish. Seeing my tiny world’s challenges as “the only ones.” Praying for more space in my heart for others – focus and Jesus-eyes. Grateful He keeps teaching me, no matter what.

  • Interesting thought on the comparison of Job and Jesus. It’s not one I have heard before and I, like the author, have a difficult relationship with the book of Job. I think there is nothing more human than to hope that suffering has a purpose. That hope is, imo, linked directly to our faith in God. That His plans to prosper us are ultimate and that whatever suffering we may encounter is simply to further His plans in our lives. I also think, and know, that it can be quite difficult to hold onto that. Pressing into your faith when you’re in the thick of the enemies onslaught. This is a true battle ground. This is where people come to Jesus, lose their faith, or dig in.

    It is by the example of Christ that we know we are to live in community and to continue His kingdom. As stewards of His Word we are charged to love and care for each other. Sadly, I think this is where, all too often, we fail. This battleground is where we can truly shine as a city on a hill but instead we struggle too. If Job had the blessing of the community that Christ charges us to be his suffering would have been lightened. The enemy incapable of diminishing his spirit.

    It is a great comparison to me; simply because it is an example of how gift of Jesus is more than redemption, but also a path to real community.

  • Lauren R

    Amelia- beautiful way to look at it! Redemptive lens! Rachel- I think God is working all things together for his purposes (Romans 8). This was/is true with Abraham, Joseph, Job, Jesus, and every other character in his narrative. We may not have all the answers for Job, but I think his story is included in scripture to give us hope that we can suffer well and that ultimately our salvation is purchased through Jesus’ suffering. The point I think Erin was trying to make, but things get cloudy when we talk about suffering. It’s always good to cross reference scripture with our questions… Hope you find more truth as you continue to dig in!

  • I was just having a conversation last night about systemic injustice and how it deeply bothers me, but I still carry hope of eventual redemption and wholeness. And this baffled the woman I was conversing with.
    Of course I see everything with a redemptive lens, I know Jesus! And thus I’m bound to look for meaning in suffering because I know there was purpose in His and that He is working all things (even tragedy) together for the GOOD of those who love Him. But those who don’t know Jesus look for meaning in suffering and can’t find it. I think that apart from Jesus, suffering is meaningless. And I think even with Jesus, we are bound to experience the pointless suffering of our broken world.
    I’m sorry for the pain and loss and suffering – senseless or redemptive – that many of you are experiencing now. I pray that Jesus’s wounds would heal yours!

  • This is my first devotional recommended to me by my sister. I lost my grandmother in January and my father in October. It’s been a hard year but God has really made his presence known in my life this year. I am looking forward to getting to learn more about his word.

    • C

      I’m so sorry for your loss but so happy you found your way here. Keeping you in my prayers sweet friend.

  • I loved what you had to say today, Erin. Thank you so much for your wise words!
    There is always one problem I have when I read the book of Job. Chapter 1 verse 7 makes it seem like God is dangling Job in front of Satan. Almost in a masochistic way. “There’s no way you could tempt MY Job to sin.” The verses that follow kind of make it seem like God is playing a game against Satan and Job is His pawn. Please don’t misunderstand me– I fully believe and know that God is love and doesn’t treat us this way. I guess you could say that I need to solve for x. I know what happens to Job. And I know the end result– that it is against God’s character to pridefully play with Job. What I don’t know is why– my “x”. How do I reconcile this “game” with the character of God that I know? The God that doesn’t allow suffering without a purpose? I would love to hear your thoughts, ladies. Thanks in advance for your help in helping me better understand who God is.

    • Amelia

      Rachel, that is a great question. Though, I’m afraid I do not have an answer. I’m not sure anyone does. There are things God graciously reveals to us through His word and Holy Spirit about himself, our lives, and the world. I think it is important though to remember He does not reveal everything to us, nor could we possibly understand everything. The bible tells us that His ways are higher than ours and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. I believe that there are some things that God does that we simply won’t understand until we reach heaven. That’s where our trust in His revealed character and will come in. Furthermore, when I do not understand something that goes on, in the Bible or in the world containing no explanation I must remember that God does not answer to me. I am not the standard, no matter what my flesh tells me. He is right to do whatever He desires because He is holy and just. I will leave you with this, “Our God is in the heavens and He does all that He pleases” Psalm 115:3. With love and in Christ. -Amelia

      • Kate

        I love the honesty of not only this question but the answer Amelia provided. Her thoughts made me think of “For now we know in part and prophecy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial shall pass away.” I love the truth in this verse and praising the Lord that one day the partial will be the unfathomable thing to us and the perfect will be the everyday. Hallelujah whew.

    • Brittany

      Rachel–I’m totally with you!! This has always bothered me as well. It doesn’t seem to match God’s character. But alas, Amelia’s answer is probably the best we will have until we meet with God face to face one day. Thanks Amelia for your response!

    • Lennea

      Job is honestly one of my favorite books of the bible, but I’m with you in that the beginning is hard to understand. However the ending is beautiful! I can’t summarize the last chapter in my own words, so you should definitely read it yourself! Like Amelia, I don’t know if this will entirely answer your question, but I believe there are two things about God’s character that He wants to reveal through the book of Job. I don’t have all the answers, but this is what I learned through studying Job. :)

      First, God is before time, and knows the end of time. He is completely sovereign over everything! This is hard for our finite minds to understand. Because we are only capable of knowing such a short span of this universe, we cannot fathom a God who created us knowing we would make poor choices and He would need to sacrifice His son for us. And yet He loves us, and He gave us the power to choose anyway! Why would He do that??? I don’t remember where I heard it but the fact that “Jesus has always been the plan, there was no plan B” is something that has changed how I view things.

      God knew Satan would enter the presence of the Lord with a challenge. (He just can’t tuck his tail and run can he?) And God knew that in the end Job’s faith would not be shaken. God knew from before time began that His servant Job would be the one whose life would have incredible suffering. But Job’s comfort was a temporary sacrifice God knew could be made and would ultimately end in glory.

      The second thing I believe God teaches through the story of Job is that we are created for relationship with Him. What if the whole ordeal is merely because God knew that through it He would have the chance to speak directly to Job and their relationship would be stronger than the distanced ritual and sacrificed based routine from before? At the end Job professes “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” Wow! We also know that God has given us the avenue of prayer to directly touch the Father’s heart. The end also tells us that Job has a prayer life for his friends that the Lord accepts. True relationship goals right there!

      For the same reason God allowed Eve to notice the fruit of the tree and hear the serpent’s sly words, He allows Job’s testing. He wants us to choose to love Him back, even though we can’t give him a drop in the bucket compared to what He has given us. He doesn’t need us, and yet we are treasured by the Creator of all things. It was never about beating a game with Satan, but about a plan to win over the emotions of an already faithful servant. I hope this helps you see that God’s righteous character is revealed in Job’s testing! God bless!

      • Lindee

        So beautifully said Lennea! Job is a favorite book of mine too. His story is so devastating and yet I love God’s words to him about his sovereignty. Sometimes I just need a reminder that He is in control and is on the throne, no matter what Satan throws our way. Thanks for sharing!

    • Keri W.

      Hey Rachel! Great question. God tests our faith, and he often does that through trials and suffering. He does this to continue refining us and revealing His Sovereignty to us, that He is in control regardless of our circumstances. I’ve been studying the book of James and that has helped my view of suffering and trials immensely. Check it out. :)

  • I am new to this blog and today’s devotion and comments were encouraging to me in the sense that the comments showed that there are people who just love and offer up support where we are at no matter how ugly. The last two years have been the darkest valley I have ever faced. We sold everything and moved as missionaries with our 8 children across the world. The whole time we were there was a nightmare. We were falsely accused by our team of ridiculous accusations and subsequently fired by our agency. Our pastor in the states turned his back on us. We arrived back to a new town with no home or belongings or money. It was a confusing time of feeling like we didn’t belong in either world Foreign or domestic. My teenage son struggled horribly to find his place and ended up overdosing on pills. I feel like we fell down a rabbit hole. I am not sure I understand myself at all. I quit church not because of anger towards God, but because of disillusionment with Christians In general. What plagues me the most is that when praying about whether we were to go overseas, my husband and I heard specific promises from God and those did not come to pass. sInce God is not a liar, then we must have heard that wrong and if we heard that wrong then what else have we done based on what we thought we heard. That has really messed with my head and thrown my relationship with God from a comfortable, talking all day long to him relationship to an awkward kind of first date where I don’t think I know him anymore. Anyway, I can’t believe this is where we are. It’s like we blinked and everything just went wrong. We have had lots of comments from people that are along the lines of I told you so and what were you thinking. I am talking a lot but struggle to put into words where I am at. I feel lost. Can anyone else relate to this?

    • Emily Rojas

      Clara, you are so loved and I hear every word you are saying! Sometimes we wonder about why things happen to us-especially when we feel like God is the one calling us to these places. Just rest assured in knowing that you went based on God’s call. Right now you might feel like you’re on an awkward first date with God but ALWAYS remember that he knows you so well and even still he loves and desires you and desperately cares for you. Cling to the Lord for He is good always.
      In Christ,
      Emily

    • Evelyn

      Clara,
      I cannot pretend to understand the depth of the pain you are experiencing because my experience is very different. However, I have had my share of pain and darkness and disillusionment with church and christians. I feel with you and for you about the deep questioning and processing, because I have done the same. When I read the passage from Job for today, I came across something in my Bible. The Bible I have is a study Bible and includes character profiles for significant figures. The profile of Job was very enlightening:

      “Job was a wealthy man whom the Bible describes as “blameless and upright” (1:1) When God pointed out Job’s faithfulness, Satan responded that Job feared God only because the Lord had protected him and blessed him. To test Job’s integrity, God allowed Satan to take away all of Job’s possessions and his children. In a single day Job lost everything, yet he responded faithfully (1:21) Next God gave Satan permission to attack Job’s health, He struck Job with painful sores (2:7) Job’s wife then urged him to “curse God and die” (2:9) Job’s friends WRONGLY concluded that his sins caused his suffering, but Job refused to accept this. Instead, Job asked God to explain why he was suffering. God eventually answered Job’s cries, and Job humbly submitted to God’s sovereignty. The Lord then restored Job’s fortune, giving him twice as much as he had before and blessed him with more children.”

      What caught my attention especially was the part where his friends basically completely turned on him and accused him rather than what he probably expected them to do; support him. He refused to give in to the darkness and rely on other humans to survive, instead he cried out to the One who created him and everything he had lost, the one who held the future, the one who would not fail him.

      I can relate so much to the feeling of disbelief as to where you and your family are right now. I have gotten to a place I never imagined I would be. But please, please, don’t allow your disillusionment with flawed people to cloud your vision of our perfectly loving and just creator. I pray that God will increase your awareness of His presence and give you opportunities to process and heal. I pray that He wraps His loving arms around you and tells you through His word and through people in your life how much he loves you and your family. I pray that you will find the strength and courage to reconnect in time, and be a part of Jesus centered and loving community. I preach this to myself every day: the darkness will not win!

      Peace and love,
      Evelyn

    • Churchmouse

      Oh Clara , your story breaks my heart, especially because you have been wounded by ‘friendly fire.’ There is perhaps nothing more hurtful than fellow Christians attacking and abandoning you. My thoughts are these : perhaps your were indeed following God’s leading but Satan roared – and used the missionary team and your pastor back here as his instruments to discourage you and stop you. Christians can unwittingly be used by Satan to thwart God’s work if they are not imploring God for wisdom and abiding deeply in him. Why God would permit this I do not know. Perhaps the leadership over there and your former pastor will eventually realize their errors and come to repentance. Perhaps this is a test of your perseverence and you and your family will, in time, be stronger and an encouragement and comfort to others who have undergone such unfair criticism by fellow Christians. The purpose may not be known for some time. For now, I pray for healing and restoration for your family. I especially pray for your son. Clara, God loves you still and I ask you to turn to Him with all your emotions and just lay it all out before Him. He knows and He cares and He is in the redemption business. He will bring good out of this. Eight years ago my family and I were badly wounded by our local church. It wasn’t just, true or fair and my family were walking wounded for quite awhile. But we were determined to be better Christians in spite of it and through it. Eight years later we are a force to be reckoned with because our prayer life and dependence on Him is formidable. We were brought to our knees and we clung to Him, wrestling with all we had. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t fun but we came through. You can too. (the leadership of that church eventually apologized and asked us to go back. We didn’t though there are no ill feelings. That church was ‘for a season.’) Praying hard for you all, Clara.

  • This devotional is such a timely reminder for me. A friend of mine passed away unexpectedly this weekend after struggles with mental health. I attended her wake last night. I don’t know why she had to go through that, but thank you Jesus for dying on the cross for her so that she might spend an eternity with you.

    • Miki

      She can spend an eternity.** (Apologies that my initial phrasing was a bit archaic and possibly misleading.)

  • Rochelle

    So very blessed by these devotionals and the fellowship within the comments. Grateful God has brought SRT into my life!

  • Churchmouse

    Just want to say how blessed I feel reading all of the comments. You all are so thoughtful and honest and vulnerable and seeking. It’s an honor to share this site with you and to pray for the requests you mention. Know that I write each one down in my prayer book to daily lift them up to our MIGHTY GOD AND KING who is more than able! Blessings to you all!

    • She Reads Truth

      Churchmouse, you’re such a joy! I love seeing you in the comments each day :)

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • Ahlaischa

    This devo was so needed to today! I and my family have been in the valley for going on two years. Anything that could have gone wrong, has, and it’s been a struggle to say the least. However I am immensely thankful that God will use this for my good and to bring glory to Himself. He has been faithful in my life before, and I know He will not forsake me now. Asking for prayers of patience!!

    • She Reads Truth

      Ahlaischa, praying with you today, friend! So glad you’re here!

      xoxo-Kaitlin

  • I want to voice something a little bit different right now and say that Job’s suffering was not for nothing and was not senseless. I do not think that Erin really meant to say the above statement, but I kept thinking that God had a plan for Job just like He had a plan for Jesus, only Job’s suffering didn’t save creation, it merely pointed to the One who will bring this wonderful salvation. The fact is, we won’t always see the result of our suffering. Just like Job, we are in the middle, covered with confusing circumstances and suffocating questions. But we must put our hope in God! “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20) We will suffer, but we can put our hope in the One who bore the ultimate suffering in order to bring our souls back home to God!

    • Erin Davis

      Hey Hannah!

      Couldn’t agree more. We know from Romans 8:28 that God uses all things for our good and His glory, so there is no such thing as senseless suffering. That’s why I said that Job’s suffering seemed senseless. When I read his story, I am left wanting to see what the end result was, but acknowledge that God redeems all things even when we cannot see them.

      Grace and Peace!

      Erin Davis

    • Jena

      Hi Hannah –

      I have to agree with you here. God shows Job that Job was not there in the beginning, He didn’t help part the seas, He wasn’t there when the Morning Stars danced, there is so much that God has done and taken care of that Job could not begin to understand the “purpose” in His suffering. However, God does say that it is for His glory. I think God’s glory is pretty purposeful. Also, Job is given double of everything He has lost, I don’t believe that is a small thing at all. Double His family, double His wealth, double his happiness, God restored and multiplied everything. God did so much more through Jesus. Yes, Jesus sure is the true and better Job – but the book of Job has taught me a lot, dealing with Lupus in my life, that I may not understand everything I endure – but does that take away from the Almighty God? Absolutely not. He still is good! Thank you Jesus for this word today, may it provide life and truth to each of us reading!

      • April Anne

        Hi Jena,
        I so relate with the pain of enduring physical suffering and not understanding why (I have Ulcerative Colitis, and take a lot of the same meds as Lupus patients). I just want to say I don’t know you but I love you and I pray for easier days, healing and a testimony to share with everyone who has seen you suffer. I feel like God had opened my eyes to so much meaning in Job’s suffering too and I’m thankful. Job may not have known it, but his suffering on earth was proving a spiritual truth in heaven – that God can and should be worshipped for who He is and not because of the good things He gives us. Satan said it was impossible for humanity to grasp that, and God proved him wrong through Job’s suffering! I take heart at that, wondering if there could be spiritual victories being won because of the suffering I experience on earth. How worth it would that be?!

  • “He gives and He takes away” this is a truth that I have spent much time grappling with, fighting over, and coming to terms with. There was a time when I refused to accept that a loving and good God would take away. I couldn’t accept it. I couldn’t believe it. However, along with that I then also couldn’t trust God. My faith was waivering. I was sitting on a fence. My husband and just wanted to start a family and we went through a very dark time of loss upon loss. Each miscarriage felt as though God was playing a practical joke on me. Instead of falling before God in worship as Job did. I cried out in anger and accusation. I shook my fists in His face. I turned from him and became bitter and envious of every pregnant women and every parent I laid eyes on. It was a dark time. I have been on a slow heart journey back to Him and coming to the place to accept that indeed my Loving God does give and does take away and I can trust Him.
    1 Peter 2:24 and 25 jumped out at me this morning as if God was saying this is you. This is how I see you. I, like so many, was like a lost sheep walking away from my shepherd, but now I have come back to my shepherd, the guardian of my soul and I am healed from all my sin and pain by His wounds. I am Healed.
    Now I live by the spirit He gives me, not a spirit of fear, but a Spirit of power, of love, and of self control. The flames of my faith are being fanned to life as I now know that I can trust, lean my entire being on my God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness, no matter the circumstance. (2 Timothy 1:5-7).

    I am so thankful for a God who never lets us go or gives up. He has pursued me and brought me back. I am so thankful for His living and working Word!
    Happy Monday ladies!

    • Laci

      This is so beautiful, Melinda! Happy Monday to you as well!

    • Becca Bailey

      Beautifully written. It’s so wonderful that not only does God forgive our sin, He heals our pain.

  • I read 1 Peter 3:18 in a totally new way today: “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to BRING YOU TO GOD.” I read this and had a vivid image of my weak, earthly legs failing me time and time again, trying to get to God. But Jesus…He sees me and has compassion. He picks up my mess of a soul and DELIVERS me to God, so that I might be whole again. His strength is so much greater than mine that he can do the seemingly impossible: bring an undeserving wretch of a girl to a perfect and holy God, who loves me beyond compare. What a sweet and precious gift.

    • Hannah

      I had a similar realization today! When reading 1 Peter 2:25, I realized that I don’t have to keep trying to get to God, for Jesus has already returned my soul to the Shepherd and Overseer of my soul. I am home. My soul is at rest in God, and nothing can change that, no feelings, no sufferings, no sins, and no action of mine. How marvelous!

  • I used to think when God was at work in my life, it would mean rosy things & everything is great, because God is great so my life should be great if He’s working in my life, right?? So you see the flaw in my logic is this, when things are going great i often would forget my great need for God and start operating out of my own understanding….but He “gives and takes away”, and if nothing else it serves as a reminder that this life, ALL OF THIS, is working according to His will, even when we wont…and living in that place of life being hard and out of our control as it is, that’s when He can really work on our hearts and in our lives. Jesus is the proof, suffering is necessary even if only God knows why we are suffering! Surely it is part of His plan, because He is good and He is for us, not against us; even when it seems like we are on our own, He holds us in His hands!

    • Hannah

      Yes! God is writing a story that we cannot begin to imagine the ending, and it is to give Him glory! And when we walk in the same direction of His glory, we walk in the direction of His goodness, which will provide for us. This does not disqualify suffering, for in many ways only through the suffering can we receive the good that God has planned. “He holds us in His hands.”

  • Just some thoughts as I try to wrap my mind around Job and how he could possibly find a way to bless the name of the Lord – worship in the face of such horrific suffering. . . The passage Job 1:5 “And then when the days of the feast had run their course, Job would send and consecrate them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually. (If I could bold and underline THUS JOB DID CONTINUALLY, I would!) I wrote in the margin of my Bible, “clean heart…clean life…continual repentance…continual worship”. The practice of continual communion with the Lord (perhaps) was a key to Job being able to worship through suffering. I find it hard to believe that anyone really fully understands why bad things happen to good people, but I do think that if you are in constant communication with the Almighty, you develop a trust and assurance that someday it will all make sense. So, today, in light of being in communion with the Lord this morning through His magnificent Word and prayer, I’m asking Him to give me a clean heart so that my life would be purified so that nothing would clog the communication pipe between Him and me…that way when (not if) life hits me hard, I can put my trust in Him and rest in His assurance that He is the Sovereign One.

  • Caroline @ In Due Time

    So true! We want answers to suffering. I am first in line to being guilty for saying stupid things during suffering too. So thankful that our Jesus can relate to ALL suffering that we endure. Even when it feels like way too much, He gets it. http://www.in-due-time.com

  • Rochelle

    Praising and blessing God’s name through dark times. This is what I needed to read today. My husband is going through (the very beginning of what could be) a very dark time, and our family is, too. If any of you could, please pray for us.

    • Dianne

      Father, I lift up Rochelle and her family to you. No matter what comes, may she remember that You already know, that You love her beyond all she can imagine, and that You are with her every step of the way. May she press in to You and find that You are enough. I pray for abundant peace in her heart. Bless them and draw each one of them closer to You. In Jesus’ holy and glorious name, Amen.

    • Cindy

      Praying right now for you, my sister in Christ. Cling tightly to the One Who knows the reason. Hugs and prayers

    • Kylee

      Prayers Rochelle — That He would use this dark time to tether you tighter to Him, and be with you & your husband through it!

  • My husband and I suffered two miscarriages, one right after the other, about five years ago. It was one of the darkest times in my life. I couldn’t understand why God would have me to suffer so. It happened that we were set to read the book of Job as a family at that exact time. I found myself commiserating with Job. The well meaning encouragers in my life reminded me of Job’s friends. I even had a person tell me to reflect on my life, search my heart to see if an unseen sin had caused this tragedy in my life. It was devastating. But God spoke so sweetly to me while reading Job. I had never experienced an understanding for this book like I did then. To bless His name, even through my darkest hours. To know that He is good, because He is God. He gives and takes away, but He is perfect, holy, and righteous. That He experienced the loss of His only Son. For me. And that Son, endured unimaginable suffering was for my immeasurable relief. Thanks you, Jesus. Blessed be Your Name!

    • Rachael

      Thanks for sharing. Beautiful story. Who of us can say “blessed be your name” in the midst of suffering. For a long long time, deep in my heart heart, I believed suffering was golds rejection and hatred of me, and in that lie, I hated God back. God is in the process of restoring the trust of a child to me, and I am beginning to Trust Him in the valley. Praise God Who knows what we need to grow in faith. His good and his goodness never ends.

  • My favorite Romans verse is 8:28 God works all things for good for those who love him and are called according to his purposes. I cant tell you how many times I have recalled that verse in my mild or long sufferings
    Another thought I had reading this is Jesus suffered alone so I will never have to. I remember going through a hard hard time and recalling his suffering on the cross. ” Why have you forsaken me” Jesus cried. I thought I cant imagine going through what I’m going through without God. Jesus, who had the perfect union with God was left alone on the cross. No communion with the Father. That is what we deserve. But thank you LORD for suffering for my sin. We never have to go through anything without him.

  • I love this explanation of the book of Job done by jointhebibleproject.com https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xQwnH8th_fs

  • I’ve spent the last 6 months angry and bitter and trying my hardest to run away from a God I thought took something from me. 6 months ago my Husband lost his job and we had to move away from a town, a church and many friends who we loved and made us feel so loved! And I have spent the last 6 months railing at the unfairness of it all. But reading this very open and honest devotional has made me realize that while in my eyes I may seem to be suffering needlessly, Jesus Christ is the one who suffered. And He did it for me. He let Himself be crucified on that Cross just for me, in this moment. I’ve had so many doubt’s about who God is in my life and His love for me. But when I put it all in perspective and remember that Jesus is the only one who has a claim that His suffering was unjust I can better lay my anger and bitterness and hurt at His Feet. Knowing that He loves me enough to Die for Me seems to make my suffering less of an issue and more of a chance to set Him work in my life and heart.

  • Jojohamm

    Thank you, Jesus.

  • Churchmouse

    No purpose in Job’s suffering? Yet here we are talking about him these thousands of years later. Tough things occur in this life because we live in a fallen world. Because we choose to sin. Or someone else chooses to sin and we are affected by their choice. Or we/our faith is being tested by God. It is not always, hardly ever, comforting to say these things to the sufferer. We are to weep with those who weep. Words seem empty platitudes when the wounds are fresh and deep. BUT GOD! (there’s those 2 words again!) What Satan intends for evil, for our destruction, God uses to our good. Job 42: 5 is insightful from this man of integrity who feared the Lord and turned from evil. His ears had heard of God but now, through the suffering – through the wrestling between his faith in God and what God had permitted to happen to him – now he SEES God. He experiences Him differently. Where before he continually and perhaps frantically tried to appease God with sacrifices in case he and his family had sinned… Now he SEES God for Who He is. The mighty creator, sovereign over all. Over the good. And the bad. And He is a good good God. Job wasn’t rich in all he had and then lost. He was rich in his relationship with God. And he never lost that. If all we have is Jesus, that is more than enough. Do we believe this? Really really believe this? Leading us, these thousand of years later, to answer that question is, for me, the purpose of Job and his suffering story.

    • Esther

      I was thinking the same thing! I have never thought Job suffered for no purpose, his story is an example for other people suffering. Yet he never got to see the impact he was making. I’m sure he never thought, “my life story will be written down and millions will read it thousands of years from now.” I think that is why we tend to think pain in the moment is without reason. We usually can’t step back and get a God sized view of life. Occasionally God lets us see some of the work he is doing through pain in our lives or others and those little glimpses give me hope to trust his plan is good even when I can’t see it.

    • Sylvia Reeve

      Thank you for the timely reminder, ” if all we have is Jesus, we have more than enough. ” How often do I find myself melancholy because of difficulty in relationships or perhaps the want of material things. Forgetting that I do have the most precious gift of all ” I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine. ” Christ is more than enough.

    • Misce

      Job wasn’t rich in all he had and then lost. He was rich in his relationship with God. And he never lost that. If all we have is Jesus, that is more than enough. Do we believe this? Really really believe this? ” — I love this! And needed this today, can I borrow these words and share this to someone who needs to hear this today as well?

      Blessings to you! :)

      • Jen

        Job does two things 1. it reminds us that ALL suffer whether or not we believe or not and 2. I believe it was a glimpse of a transition from religion to relationship. It wasn’t for not. Job suffered but ultimately hung in there with God and had what was taken restored. We see that God takes and God provides. Every time I read Job, I am amazed there’s something more to learn. Enjoy ladies! Merry Christmas!

      • Churchmouse

        Of course. Hope it blesses someone else. When I wrote my thoughts, they are more to myself than anyone lol. I need the reminder the most.

    • Kath

      Thank u church mouse. What u just wrote was for me today. “If all we have is Jesus, that is more than enough. Do we believe this? ” I’m weeping over how the Lord reached out through this devotion and talked directly to me for exactly what I’m crying out to the Lord about this morning. After a year and a half of my husband recovering from porn addiction. I found something on his phone this morning. I needed to hear that even if he never gets it right. The Lord has me in his loving arms. Thank you for speaking truth in my dark time.

      • Churchmouse

        Oh Kath. Weeping with you. And praying for you and your husband. The grip of sin can be oh so strangling; yet we know our Savior came to set the captives free. Praying you keep your focus on the freedom bearer. He wants victory for your husband. And He loves you MORE THAN.

  • In Job 1:12, it says “So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.” How is it that Satan can be in God’s presence if God cannot be around sin and evil? The thought just occurred to be as I was reading this morning. Any thoughts?

    • Rosemary

      I personally think it’s just a way to tell the story and make it more dramatic; I don’t personally believe, for instance, that God literally sits on a literal throne and literally receives visitors like he does in this story. I believe in the Bible but not with that degree of, well, literalism. Others may disagree of course!

    • melanie

      God can command a temporary being to stand temporarily in His presence. Satan joined the angels in heaven, and God asked him where he had been. His reply was “roaming the earth” (Job 1:7). Until God throws him into hell and locks the door, he’s going to remain roaming the earth and tempting us, any way he chooses. See this for more: http://www.gotquestions.org/Satan-access.html

    • Lisa

      Thank you for honest questions – this is what makes SRT great! I have that same question… My thoughts are that since Satan is allowed to roam and have influence on the earth (for a time), and God is sovereign, there must be some kind of communication between them for God to allow things Satan does. I don’t picture Satan asking permission all the time, but it isn’t hard for me to picture an interaction like this, even though it seems very storybook like.

      Also, the Bible says no man is without sin, so for Job to have “perfect integrity” is also something to dig into . My thoughts are that Job was the closest thing there was on the earth to a man after God’s own heart. I like that God praises King David in this similar way, even though we KNOW all the bad things he did. So I take that as meaning God is saying “of all fallen humans, he is the best there is”…

  • “Everything happens for a reason” … that phrase used to drive me crazy. Many of the tough seasons I have been through inevitably someone in my life would say this. It used to hurt to hear. I knew, for the most part, it was well meaning but it used to make my blood boil. Sometimes that statement would feel a little like Job’s friends, insinuating that he must have done something to deserve it … I would think to Job and hurt for all he endured, for his willingness to praise God immediately. It served as a reminder to me that I didn’t want to get stuck not praising God in it, should the enemy be involved in my trials at all. That said my response to that comment was often, “I am not certain that is always the case, but I’ll trust that God has a plan to make it beautiful”. Often times, we choose a path that isn’t God’s will, we make decisions that ultimately cause the trouble in our life and we find justification by saying, this must have happened for a reason. Yes, it did, sometimes sheer stupidity and faithlessness. But sometimes it isn’t that simple. When someone loses a child, is it appropriate to say that there must be reason in that death? When someone’s husband walks out, is it comforting to tell them that there must be a reason for it? We are not in control and trying to say that there must be reason does give us a sense of balance, but it is false. The reality is that bad things happen, sometimes because of us and others because they just do. God knows the details. The question we should be asking is, “Will we praise God in it?” Job was blameless, yet he suffered. Job loved God, yet he suffered. I don’t know if Job found “reason” but I know he praised God. And the thing that is most humbling by this is that we are so opposite of Job; we aren’t blameless, we don’t honor God, often times we don’t even show love for God. We deserve death and catastrophe, yet God saw us and saved us before we even knew we needed it. He sent His own son to ensure that we are His, not that suffering won’t come, but that He will always be with us and that HE is THE reason for it all. We may not understand the why’s or the how come’s …. but we can know without a doubt that we aren’t alone, that God will bring beauty out of our suffering whatever it may be. And we can find comfort in that while we endure, our God understands. A perfect Christ suffered at the hands of others, unbelievably so … and there WAS reason in that … to save us.

    Prayerful that I don’t spend time trying to figure out reason in my life but instead focus on THE only important reason in life … that Jesus died for me. Prayerful that I fall to the floor praising like Job, that I lift my hands to the heavens and shout my love for God even in dark seasons and that wherever I find myself I feel God’s comforting embrace around me. ~ B

    • Heather (MNmomma)

      AMEN!!!!!! Beautiful insight this morning B….I love your response to “everything happens for a reason”….so true. Thank you so much for sharing your heart this morning <3 Huge hugs!

      • ~ B ~

        Hope all is well your way Heather. I am imagining a very busy week for you with school. Hope it is a smooth and joy filled one! ~ B

    • Katie

      ~B~,
      The verse in Corinthians that was mentioned in today’s commentary is the one which I spent the most time dwelling upon. It says, “When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory’.” If we get wrapped up in trying to figure out the earthly reason, I believe we take all of our focus off trying to see the imperishable, the immortality, the eternal: Jesus. Prayerful with you this morning that I don’t spend my time searching for an earthly rationale when THE reason is waiting with outstretched arms.

    • Debbie

      At the risk of sounding platitudinal (is that a word?), may I suggest that the reason may be so that you can write the way you do, which reaches and touches so many lives. Your comments challenge and bless me just about every time I read them B. Thank you for your candidness and willingness to use your suffering to be a blessing to others. God is using you. And that is good. Blessings to you.

      • ~ B ~

        I love that word, Debbie! Thank you for your kind words over me. I am always amazed at the encouragement of you wonderful women here. It is humbling to think that to think that God is using my troubled seasons for someone outside of myself. Thank you again. ~ B

    • anne jones

      Thank you B, your words are so convicting and encouraging to me this morning. A reminder that we may never know the “reason” for some of what we go thru (self inflicted or not :) ) and that is not the goal to figure it out but like you said to praise God in all.

    • SusieT

      Beautifully explained, B! Thank you so much for sharing your insight! Blessings to you!

    • Laura

      This is good. Especially when so often the reason things happen is that the world/our bodies/our relationships are just under a curse. That’s not super satisfying if you’re really aching for some sense in it all, but it is if you’re willing to lift your eyes to the One who’s dealt the death blow to that curse. Who came to bring grace and life far as the curse is found. He will make it into something beautiful, like you said, and ‘every sad thing will come undone’ (JSB).

    • Lalo

      Love your words. Thank you B. As one who has gone through seasons of trial and suffering and left wondering the whys and the how comes, your words come at the opportune time for me. Bless you

  • Are we allowed to share links here? Maybe this has already been shared. My pastor showed this video at church a few weeks ago and it goes so well with this Advent reading plan. I think about this video every time I open the plan. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=IGFtfqgBQkM If the link doesn’t work, it’s easy to find on YouTube – Dan Stevers, True and Better.

  • …..and of His peace there shall be no end. Bless you sister for sharing. Rest in His peace.

  • Oh Tina. Yes. Yes yes yes. But God. Prayers for you, friend. Thank you for sharing your journey.

  • 20 Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
    22 In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.

    Job is not a favourite book in the bible…I struggle with it, I truly do… and yet what a story of a truly Godly man….
    I only have to lose my keys, stub my toe, or get lost on a journey, and I’m up in arms and these are things that given a moment and a little pause and prayer will make right!!….
    The gift of and blessings that psalm 127 talks about, children…that’s a whole other level….I know…To hear those words…that your child is gone, that you will never share time and space with them ever again, that your life has changed from that moment …forever, ….yes, totally, I can see the tearing of the clothes, the shaving of the hair…..worshipping the Lord….that was not my first response….or even thinking…I had been in dialogue with God, I had pleaded to save my girl, I had made promises that if He healed her….so for me, God had let me down, He had either not bothered to hear my cry or just didn’t care…so no worship of one I believed had forsaken my girl and me….
    I ranted and raved, shouted at and accused, I would not just do this at home, I would go to His house, the church, stand at the alter fists waving and ask why….I, for sure was not ‘a woman of integrity, who feared God and turned away from evil…’
    But God….and here’s the thing….even through all that and more, on my part, still gave His son to suffer for me, to be beaten for me, to be humiliated for me, scorned for me, to be crucified for me, this so so SO undeserving sinner, this disrespecter of the Holy One…He gave his son that I, the undeserved, would live, knowing that my child is well, that she is in His safe keeping, that I would have hope, and not just a light hearted hope, but a God given HOPE, one that from the pit of my stomach rises to bring me joy in the knowledge that Jesus, Dear Jesus gave all that we might all have life…
    Thank you, Jesus…Thank you……with all that I am thank you….for the hope I have in YOU…x

    Praying God turn His face to shine on you today, wherever you are at, whatever you are doing…be Blessed….with love, Tina…xx

    • ~ B ~

      Love to you this morning Tina! How many times can I say that I, too, was not a woman of integrity, who feared God and turned away from evil…. BUT GOD!!! Best two words ever my friend! ~ B

    • Sarah_Joy

      Your honesty and raw fierce post are a breath in the midst of this social media onslot of perfect posts and re-touched pictures. Thank you for your vulnerability. May God speak His hope and love to you today.

      • Kam

        I too thank you Tina for your vulnerability with all of us. all your posts come from your heart and raw emotions. But you, like Job, seek God and know that He’s there. Thanks so much for your honesty and love to us all. Blessings.

        • Kylee

          Amen– seeking and knowing He is there is faith living, even when we shake our fists at the sky!

    • Shelia

      You have come through so much and the life that you share on SRT gives me hope for what I have been going through the last 5 months. Keep sharing your heart sister, it is speaking to others.

    • Carla

      Tina – my sweet sister. Thanks for posting today. Sending love your way.

    • Heather (MNmomma)

      love and hugs to you sweet sister! BUT GOD…………….yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Rosemary

      Tina,

      I love the book of Job as one of my favorites, because at the end Job rants and raves and is just *furious* with God, but _God still loves him_. It makes me feel so secure and reassured by the endless love of God to know that in the worst depths of my pain, or your pain, we are allowed to be angry, even at God himself, and yet God will continue to love us and care for us no matter how angry or upset we are at him. Because no one has ever ranted at God quite so eloquently as Job (Chapters 21-31), yet God loved him right to the end of the book of Job and presumably forever after.

      I find that helpful to think about and hope you might as well.

      XO Rosemary

    • Laura

      Wow, Tina. Thanks for sharing. I’m so sad for your loss but so encouraged by your heart and eyes on Jesus.

  • Anna Macrae

    We’ve just finished a series studying the book of Job at my church, and wow it was hard to make sense of what God was saying to us through it at times, but I’m so thankful to have been guided through it in these least few weeks, being reminded again and again throughout of Gods absolute faithfulness and unceasing mercy towards us, and the hope that only He can bring in dark times, because only He could create a way to allow us to come back into relationship with him through his previous son. What a saviour!

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