The book of Job, found in the Bible, is one of my favorites.
It is the most eloquent book written on suffering and hope, friendship and ignorance, creation and God’s character; it is masterpiece literature that gives a sneak peak into the spirit world.
That’s why I chose it to fulfill a writing assignment for a recent course, where I had to retell a true, biblical story that has been meaningful to me, in 500 words or less.
I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed studying and writing it:
The woman he loved told him to curse God and die. Three friends accused him of unthinkable sins. His property was destroyed, his crops gone. No morphine was given for his pain—only a broken pot to scratch his diseased skin. And all this as he sat grieving the death of his children.
And you thought you were having a bad day.
“Cursed be the day I was born,” he said. Where was God when he needed him most? Why was he being punished? He needed answers. Deeply depressed with no hope in sight, he wanted to die.
Ever been there?
Silent for so long, a fourth friend, ticked off at the condemnation the other three had hurled at Job, spoke up. “You may be older, but not wiser! I’ve listened to each one of you, but none have proved Job wrong.”
Then he turned to Job and said, “Remember this: God is just and is greater than man. Stop justifying yourself and start justifying God. In your suffering, you’ve denied God his omnipotence. Pray, Job. Ask God to forgive you.”
We all need a friend like that.
Then a voice spoke out of a storm, “Be a man and answer Me.” God asks a series of questions that prove His power and understanding much greater than that of Job’s. “Were you there when I made the earth and marked off boundaries for the oceans? Have you ever told the sun to rise? Is it you who speaks to lightning?”
This rhetoric continued at length until God asked a few final questions of Job. “Are you going to keep arguing with me and correcting me?”
This was heavy.
But Job knew God was right and was thankful to finally hear His voice. “I’m nothing God. I’ve already opened my mouth too many times – I’ll keep my mouth shut and listen.”
You’re the man, Job.
“Now that I’ve gotten your attention,” said God, “There are a few more things I need to clear up. In trying so hard to prove yourself innocent, you came close to condemning me and discounting my justice. Do you really think yourself as strong as me? Job, you can’t even control a hippo, or a whale, or any other of the largest beasts I have created! You must trust me as I rule the universe – and your life, both when you’re blessed and when you suffer.”
Best advise we’ve heard so far.
Then a beautiful thing happened. Job humbled himself and repented. “Oh God! I said some really stupid things; things I was completely ignorant of! I hate myself for that. Please forgive me.”
Ever try that?
God then gave Job a better life than he’d ever had. His body was restored. People came with gifts. He ended up with a fortune in livestock and gold. Seven sons and three gorgeous daughters were born to him and he lived long enough to see his great-great-grandchildren.
End of story.
Except for the beginning. But that’s for another day.
I dusted this article off and re-posted it since I’m pondering the “another day” beginning to the story. In case you don’t know it, read Job chapter one. It’s loaded.
©I.K. Hadinger 2011