The book of Job contains an enormous amount of wisdom and comfort. It deals with very personal and sensitive subjects that make a strong impact on the reader. Much of the book focuses on the innermost feelings of man. In particular, chapter 19 gives us an amazing look into the heart of a man of faith.
By the time we reach chapter 19, Job had already lost his oxen, donkeys, sheep, camels, servants, and worst of all, his children. His wife gave him no comfort, and his skin was covered with painful sores. Also, the high standing and respect that he once had in society had completely vanished, leaving him a pitiful outcast in the eyes of his countrymen. On top of that, his own friends had become a painful burden to him because they were insisting that his situation was the result of some flagrant sin.
Some of Job’s deepest pain came from the fact that he just didn’t understand why. He didn’t know why all of this had happened to him. He didn’t know why God was treating him that way. Job had asked God, “Why have you made me your mark? Why have I become a burden to you?” (7:20). And Job had said to his friends, “Who will say to Him, ‘What are You doing?’” (9:12). Job didn’t understand God’s actions and was frustrated because he couldn’t even fathom asking God to explain.
But in chapter 19 we read that, in spite of all of this, Job’s heart was committed to the Lord. In utter despair he cried out, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another” (19:25-27).
As miserable and utterly confused as Job was, he still proclaimed his belief that one day he would see God and be rescued by Him. This ran contrary to everything Job could see at the time, but that didn’t change his conviction that the Lord was alive and would bring redemption. What an incredible example of commitment to God.
Like Job, people of faith have felt pain and despair. Death, disease, and heartache are all around. Like Job, people of faith don’t always understand God’s actions. They wonder why specific painful events have happened to them. Like Job, people of faith struggle for answers, yet they can’t even fathom asking God for an explanation.
Like Job, we must be able to see past our present circumstances and be committed to our Redeemer. Often when we look around, it appears like peace and glory and joy are nowhere to be found, and God’s providential decisions only bring about more heart-wrenching questions. But God intentionally preserved the story of Job for us. Like so many other stories in the Bible, Job teaches us to be a people who are faithfully obedient no matter what the circumstances. And one day our Redeemer will bring our redemption. Paul told the Christians in Rome, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Rom. 8:18).
If there is anyone who understood suffering, especially undeserved suffering, it is the Lord Himself. Death and pain were experienced by Jesus, something that should connect us to Him. Our God personally knows what pain is, and He will redeem us from it.
No matter how much death we are surrounded by, no matter how much suffering we endure, no matter how much heartache comes our way, may we still have the faith to say, “I know that my Redeemer lives,” and “I shall see God.”