MONDAY MEDITATION: Suffering, Part Two–After You’ve Seen God (November 18, 2019)

Job 42:9-17

Job’s sufferings end when God appears in a whirlwind and has a heart-to-soul conversation with him. What’s VERY interesting, though, is what happens afterwards.

In the above verses, three things leap off the page.

Job prays for his friends. His friends haven’t exactly been friendly to him. They’ve held to the fantasy, “You’re suffering because you’ve sinned. Repent and things will go better.” God has said they’ve been mistaken (42:7), and they should seek help from Job. The former sufferer pays back their meanness with intercessory prayer on their behalf.

Job forgives his family. His brothers and sisters ran away from him after the catastrophes. They didn’t want to end up as collateral damage. They didn’t reach out to him in his pain. But now that his fortunes have changed, they return, gifts in hand. Again, when Job could have responded angrily, he forgave instead.

Job advocates for justice. He goes on and has seven sons and three daughters. While we don’t know the sons’ name, we do know the daughters’. Additionally, the writer specifies that Job “gave an inheritance to them along with their brothers.” That’s unheard of in a patriarchal society! Only sons receive inheritances. But Job, having been an outcast himself, wanted in some small way to right the wrong of discrimination.

The book of Job is a parable, not to be taken literally. (There’s no way the God we know through Jesus would promote suffering to win a bet.) The Hebrew writer, though, captures poignantly the journey of a believer encountering nonsensical pain. The perseverance of persistently pursuing God, baring your soul without censor, results in a changed heart.

That heart opens the door for a real encounter with God. Walking through it, you find yourself praying, forgiving, and advocating.

Just like Jesus.

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