Introduction: Paul vs Job
You’ve probably had someone reply to your plea for support with a platitude or a quote from Job that went something like, “This too shall pass.” When you’re trial has lasted over seven years or you’ve been living with an incurable illness for over 30 or 40 years, it doesn’t help to hear that Job was blessed with even more than he had before Satan was allowed to take his wealth, health, and loved ones away. How long was Job’s suffering? It wasn’t a lifetime, but yours might be. I know mine has been.
It never gave me peace to hear about how Job’s health and wealth and family were restored to him. I mean, I was happy for him. I’m happy for all who have suffered and been blessed, but it never helped me to know that OTHERS’ trials had ended or that they were short-lived. Just like it never satisfied me financially to know that someone else had built a million dollar business while I was struggling to pay rent or find quarters in the First National Couch with which to go food shopping. I was happy for them, but it didn’t help me.
Then one day I realized that it was because I wasn’t a Job. I was a Paul. Many of us are Pauls. Many of us struggle with things for a lifetime or at least a long time. Some of us had learned to find joy despite the trials, but others hadn’t. I wondered what it was about Paul that allowed him to find joy in the words, “My grace is sufficient for you.”
I decided to look for a study of just how Paul found the joy he spoke of in the midst of so much turmoil. I searched for a devotional about the difference between Job’s trials and Paul’s. I couldn’t find one. Several of my friends suggested that I write one. Well, I didn’t feel qualified to do such a thing. So for years I just kept looking.
Then one day, two church friends found me at a book sale looking for just such a book. When I explained what I was looking for, they both suggested that I write one. Again, I told them I didn’t feel qualified to undertake such a task, but they both replied that many people didn’t feel qualified and that God qualifies those whom he calls. Well, I still don’t feel I have enough biblical knowledge to undertake such a monumental assignment, but I do feel God calling me to write about it.
So I will be writing a blog article series on the differences between Paul and Job. I will be sharing my research, my findings, and my own experiences finding joy in the dark places. I really have no idea where this is going, but I do feel the Lord leading me to follow this path to wherever it takes me.
I invite you to share your comments and experiences along the way and I hope it blesses each of my readers.