The Book of Job lives because the heart of the world beats in it. Within its pages are enshrined some of the deepest questionings and yearnings of the human spirit. Time has not altered these, for the book could be written in thousands of homes today.
When a young wife dies leaving motherless children, or a husband is killed, robbing the home of the breadwinner, or disaster overtakes a business which took years to build, the same cries are wrung from the heart.
Added to life’s tragedies are floods that drown, cold which freezes, earthquakes which smash cities to ruin, volcanoes which pour their boiling lava into homes. So Job seems to be right when he cries: “Yet man is born to trouble, as surely as sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7).
Job was a chieftain of immense wealth. He was wise and the spiritual father of his tribe. His creed was that God prospers and blesses those who trust in Him. But when calamity came to him, everything he believed about God was contradicted and his creed went to the winds.
In the story of Job, God accepted the challenge of the devil, and soon Job’s life was turned into desperate havoc. Calamity after calamity befell Job. The Sabeans and Chaldeans slew his servants and cattle; lightning wrecked his house and slew his children. He became affected with a dreadful disease. Job did not understand what God was doing, yet he clung to the certainty that God would see him through. When Job said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in him,”
(Job 13:15 KJV) it was one of the most sublime utterances in the Old Testament.
Here lies the answer to the problem of suffering. Job moved from a belief in a creed to a trust in a Person. There is a difference in belief in God with the head and trust in God with the heart. Job won through, proving to the world that God is loved and trusted for His own sake alone.
Have the events of life made us cynical? Has suffering been too much for our faith? Our faith is that no ultimate harm can come to him who trusts in God. When the end comes the trumpets sounding on the other side will mean the final vindication of God.
George B. Smith, Meditations for the Ordinary Man