When Things Get Really Painful
The other day I decided to do something I’ve never done before: Read the entire book of Job, front to finish, in one sitting.
If you’re new to the Bible, the book of Job (pronounced “Jōb”) isn’t only a really long book in the Bible, but it’s a bit emotionally taxing, at least until you get to the final chapter.
It starts with a scene in God’s heavenly court where an accuser named Satan challenges God on the authenticity of His blameless, righteous, servant, Job.
Job had done nothing wrong, but Satan appears to argue that the only reason Job is such a great guy is because God is good to him. In other words, Satan is suggesting that Job might be working the system and that the moment things don’t go his way, Job’s true colors will show and prove that he really isn’t that righteous of a man.
Satan asked God to allow him to test Job with pains of many kinds, and the next 41 chapters record the tremendous confusion and pain of Job completely losing his business, his family and dealing with painful sores on his body. Some of Job’s closest friends turn on him, and he appears to be all alone.
Have you ever felt this way? You’re thinking to yourself, “God, why did you let this happen? I am in pain, and I feel like maybe the world has nothing more to offer me.”
I have met people who felt like Job to the point of suicide. I have also been this person, at the coming of my mothers life-threatening brain tumor back in autumn of 2009.
I recall feelings of such sorrow, pain and agony that I remember vividly feeling the desire harm myself.
Towards the end of this long, painful story, God responds to Job, but not in the way you might think.
God shows Job how complex the universe is. He shows him two powerful, dangerous creatures He has created, and Job agrees that God’s wisdom is so complex yet so good that he would worship Him, even during the tremendous pain and confusion.
Do you know what happens next? God blesses Job with two times the business success, family and good that he had before, all the while, never exactly fully understanding the age old question of “Why does God allowed bad things to happen to good people?”
So what can we learn from this?
God is wise. God sees us. God won’t leave us in our pain. Better yet, God will lead us through seasons of testing IN HIS WISDOM for His glory and good.
The apostle Paul writes in the letter of Romans, chapter 8, verse 28, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God.”
Will you believe this statement? Will you believe it, and better yet worship God when things feel painful?
I hope you are encouraged to take the ultimate posture of God’s righteous man Job.
He worshiped God in his pain, not understanding God’s wisdom or good in the situation, all the while including songs poetry to God amidst his sorrow. And I believe God blessed him for it.
Thanksgiving Day 2009, my mother was healed of her brain tumor while the other patients in the Portland area with her kind of tumor have all passed away. God in spite of the painful process, healed my mother. And for it, we can know He is good.
And you know what else? For those who passed away of this terrible tumor, and for those who are in the midst of experiencing great pain, we can also know that in God’s wisdom He is also good and we can trust Him in every step of His good leadership and process.