Suffering. The word on its own is enough to make us sweat. Why do we experience suffering? How do these circumstances come to pass? These are questions that Job is struggling with in the midst of losing everything: his farm, his kids, and his wife. The book of Job gives an interesting perspective on this whole question because it begins by taking a step back, pulling the veil aside so that we can peer into the heavenly courts and see the dialogue between God and Satan. It is behind this veil that come to realize: Why does this suffering come upon Job? God allows it. How does it happen? Satan inflicts it. To what end? For the testing of Job’s faith—a testing which will lead to perseverance.
Job knows the goodness and sovereignty of God so he is able to announce that it is both the Lord’s to give and to take away; He is in control. Throughout the dialogue with his friends, Job defends his innocence; he didn’t do anything to deserve this pain. Yet in the midst of his brokenness, he still has hope: “I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the end he will stand on the dust. Even after my skin has been destroyed, yet I will see God in my flesh. I will see him myself; my eyes will look at him, and not as a stranger. My heart longs within me” (19:25-27).
In many ways, the way Job walks through his pain and suffering is perfectly modelled after the chain which Paul identifies in Romans 5, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (3-5). Job has suffered much, but he will persevere through this suffering because of his hope in the character and power of God. God is alive and active working all things out in accordance with His good will.
Those who trust in Him ought to hope in Him, for hope apart from Him is not true hope at all.