Scripture: Job 2: 1-13
Key verse: (9) “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.”
Reflection: The book of Job is the most ancient text in our Bible. It describes a fictional man’s struggle to understand pain and suffering while keeping his faith in God. The story asks many important questions, too many to consider in one devotion, but the main question for today is: do we love God because of the blessings we have received or do we love God no matter our circumstances? This is the question the antagonist in our story poses. In English we translate his name as Satan, but in the Hebrew language, ha Satan, literally means the Adversary. The Adversary in the story is free to roam the earth and the heavens. It is the Adversary who points out to God that Job only loves God because of all of the blessings God has bestowed on him. God refutes this claim and allows the Adversary to test Job’s faith. Throughout the book terrible things happen to Job. First, he loses his children and his property. Then, he loses his health and sits among the ashes with terrible sores all over his body. His friends come to visit him and sit with him in his suffering. After seven days, they try to figure out why all of these bad things have happened to their friend. Their discussions comprise most of the book and they don’t reach a satisfactory answer.
One thing the story of Job teaches is that suffering is not something we deserve. It is not a punishment from God to teach us a lesson. Rather, the book of Job reminds us that we are not the creator of the heavens and the earth. We do not have control over every aspect of life. Even when we do all the right things, bad things can and do happen to us and others. Suffering often doesn’t make sense. Job discovered this and so do we as we deal with challenges in our own lives and see the suffering that people experience throughout the world. As Christians, we affirm that God is with us even when we feel abandoned. We also recognize that the community of faith offers important support to us when we suffer, reminding us that we are not alone. Job held fast. He wouldn’t give up on God even when he lost everything. How might this inspire us to examine our own lives and consider where we place our trust?
Prayer: Loving God, we are humbled by your grace and power. Help us when we can’t find the answers in our suffering. May we place our trust in you in the good times and in the bad, thankful for friends and all those who reach out to us in compassion. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].