You might be asking yourself why I’m starting with Job when the title says Paul vs Job. The answer is simple. Much more is written about Job and suffering than is written about Paul so it’s going to take me more time to gain a bit of insight into the lessons Paul has for those who struggle and, since it’s my blog…[sticks tongue out]
There are many lessons we can discern from the book of Job. I think there are several that relate to trials.
1. Bad things happen to good people:
Though many well-meaning Christians will tell you that your trial and all struggles are due to unrepentant sin, this is simply not biblical. Job is a prime example of that. He was a man after God’s own heart whom God allowed to be tested. Like Job, many of us haven’t done anything that deserves a lifetime of health issues. Some of us were born with them. Would you say that an unborn baby sinned in the womb? Probably not. Sometimes bad things just happen to good people. After all, it’s a fallen world. Bad things can happen because there is disease in a fallen world or because people who choose to do evil have the freedom to act on it: a drunk driver hits a child causing life-long disabilities. As they say, Stuff Happens.
2. God is always with us:
When in trial, especially when that trial lingers on and becomes chronic, we can feel so very alone. However, just because we struggle doesn’t meant God has abandoned us. He is always there to hear our prayers and support us even if our well-meaning, Christian friends can’t. When a friend tells us we are in pain because we sinned, God tells us we are His child.
3. There is always hope:
Job teaches us that there is always hope. God may do a miracle in your life and turn around even a long-lived struggle. After many years of financial struggle, you may start a business that supports your family quite well! In fact, hope may come in the form of making you better off than you were before the trial! Job was given much more than he was aloud to lose. I know from personal experience that God has always put my family in a better situation than the one we found ourselves in prior to a financial struggle. We aren’t millionaires by any stretch of the imagination, but we are in a better financial position than we were a few years ago when my husband was working at the church for minimum wage. We now have an opportunity to build our business to a point where it supports our family even if he never finds another employer.
4. God Limits Some of Our Trials:
Job’s trails were alowed to continue for a limited time. Some of our trials, though they may be several months or even several years, may have an expiration date as was the case with Job.
5. We are to be humble:
Job was willing to accept the trials even though he didn’t understand why God had allowed them into his life. In being humbled enough to accept trials, I think that made God happy. When one of our children isn’t allowed to do something they want to do, we are blessed when they simply accept that it is ultimately for their own good somehow–even when they can’t see why.
6. God understands when we sin in the midst of struggles:
Job got frustrated with his trials and his friends gave him poor support and advice that wasn’t biblical. Whether we are in the trial or are trying to help someone in trial, we can sin. God understands this and is willing to forgive us when we ask for forgiveness because we are sinners. God knows this and is a kind and understanding Father as we would be with our children if they did wrong and came to us asking forgiveness.
7. We may never know why:
Job never understood why God allowed all the struggles in his life. Sometimes we may have a glimpse into why He allows us to go through trials, but other times we may never know. I think I know why God allowed me to go through a few of the health issues I had to endure.
Because of a series of health issues, procedures were done and surgeries were necessary. After one surgery, they found a very aggressive and rare cancer in its infancy. I wouldn’t be alive today if I hadn’t undergone all of that. I also wouldn’t have an amazing testimony that may reach others.
However, I’ve gone through many other struggles for which I have no reasons. I just need to trust that God is working all for my good because that’s who He is.
8. Acceptance leads to trust and faith:
Job accepted what God had allowed in his life. He trusted God to do what He wanted in his life, and he had a faith in the Lord. I’m not sure how Job came to this faith, but I know how I did. It’s not easy to accept a trial, especially when it has gone on for what seems like forever. However, once you get to the point where you can accept, you will find it much easier to trust that God is with you. This leads to a stronger faith, I find, in future trials.
Can you think of any other lessons from Job that help us in trials? Please comment.