Are you suffering right now? Whether it be chronic physical pain, continued mental distress, or heartbreak from loss, seasons of suffering are hard and we often do our best to avoid them. I think this is a big reason why the book of Job is not my favourite book in the Bible—it is filled with suffering. By the end of the first chapter, Job has already lost his servants, oxen, donkeys, sheep, camels, and children. That’s a brutal afternoon, but the next day it gets worse! We find Job lying in an ash heap, scraping himself with a broken piece of pottery, desperate for relief from the sores all over his body.
Job is a story of a righteous and blameless man who undergoes severe suffering. It is a story that challenges our ability to understand the way God works and why suffering exists, but it is also a story that points us toward a more righteous and more blameless sufferer. Job experienced physical pain, he was mocked, and he was betrayed by his friends—he suffered in the surest sense. And so did Jesus suffer, in every way that Job did, on His way to the cross. There is an important difference, however, between the suffering of Job and the suffering of Jesus: God stayed the hand of Satan from killing Job (Job 2:6), but He did not spare the life of His Son (Romans 8:32). Our Saviour Jesus Christ, the true and better suffering servant, suffered unto death.
The story of Job does not answer all the questions we might have about suffering, but it does give us hope in the midst of it. You see, like Job, we will all suffer—this is simply the result of living in a fallen world. But the story of Job proclaims that suffering is temporary. At the end of the story, Job is restored and given more than he had lost (Job 42:10-12). The final say in his life is not suffering but blessing from the Lord. So it will be for you and I and all who suffer in the name of Jesus.
So, fellow sufferers, let us look not to Job for our hope, but to the one Job points to. The one who suffered unto death so that we might be given a glorious futur
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-17)