Lessons From Job Wednesday Writings

Lessons From Job: Is There Any Good?

After Job’s expression of worship in Chapter 2, his next speech is a poetic curse on the day of his birth:

“Why did I not die at birth?
Why did I not perish when I came from the womb?
. . .
Why is light given to him who is in misery,
And life to the bitter in soul . . .
Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden,
And whom God has hedged in?
For my sighing comes before I eat,
And my groanings pour out like water.”

Job 3:11-24

The notes in my Nelson study Bible say, “Even though Job longed for death, he was not considering suicide. The context of other passages indicates that Job merely wished that the Lord would let him die (see 7:15-21; 10:18-22).”

Perhaps, estranged from his wife and his community, grieving the loss of his family and his inheritance, unrecognizable even to his closest friends as he sits in ashes and scratches his sores with broken pottery, Job is thinking something like this:

Everything I cherished and valued has been taken away. I am broken. My body is a shell of what it once was. My soul—if I have any soul left—is weary.  

And he asks,

What kind of life is this?

Is there any good?

What’s the point?

Have you been there?

I know I have. 

When you look around at everything that’s broken and useless and empty and gone and the despair floods you from the inside out.

You may be suffering through circumstances similar to Job’s, or you may be simply—though it’s not simple at all—struggling through a particularly hard day. No matter your situation, when you’re in this state, it’s easy to look around at all the bad and see nothing else. To believe there IS nothing else.

But to believe there is no good is to believe a lie and to deny the very character of God.

There is always good, because God is good, and His promises are good, and His Word is good, and His Spirit within us is good. And if we let them, they will lead us to more good.  

Now I’m NOT encouraging us to play Pollyanna’s Glad Game and flippantly dance our way through our—and everyone else’s—suffering.

But Scripture gives us the commands “Rejoice in the Lord always” (Phil 4:8) and “In everything give thanks” (II Thess 5:18) and the list in Philippians 4:8:

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

God would not command us to do what we, empowered by His Spirit, couldn’t do. Even in our suffering.

Especially in our suffering, because if Satan can succeed in distracting us from God, he can succeed in undermining our trust and destroying our relationship with our Savior.

Granted, Scripture makes it clear (in the story of Job in particular) that there is a place for our emotions: our agony, our grief, our loneliness, our shock, our hurt.

But these same biblical examples show that there’s also a place—sometimes at the same time as these emotions, sometimes after the expression of them—for trust. For hope. For faith.

Faith in God and His goodness.

Faith that there IS good, even if we can’t see it.

Faith to search for (and ask God to show us) the good we CAN see.

Everyone suffers.

Not everyone has God.

God is good.

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