“Why was I born? Why is this happening? Is there any point to all this?” When his world fell apart, Job’s response was to wish he had never been born and to question why God was allowing all this suffering in his life. As he sat in misery in the ashes, Job kept running his mouth until God showed up (ch. 38-41). Only then did he realize his mistake and repent. Incidentally, many people take Job 2:10 out of context and say that Job never said anything that was wrong. “In all this Job did not sin with his lips” came before he started his complaints. If he had not sinned in his words, he would not have had to repent. His errors were not as blatant as those of his friends, but he mistakenly assumed he had the right to question God’s actions and motives. “Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer You? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer; twice, but I will proceed no further… I had heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (40:4-5, 42:5-6 ESV).
In contrast to Job, consider the prophecies of Isaiah that were fulfilled by Jesus the Messiah:
“He had no form or majesty that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief… Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted… upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed… He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth” (53:2-7).
The differences between Job and Jesus are numerous.
- Job was surprised by suffering and thought he didn’t deserve it. Jesus knew what was coming and knew He didn’t deserve suffering, but He walked to the cross willingly (Matthew 16:21).
- Job kept trying to argue his case with God. Jesus said, “Not My will, but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
- Job repeatedly told his friends of his innocence. Jesus said nothing before His accusers (Matthew 26:63).
- Job berated his friends for their counsel. Jesus forgave His attackers and invited a thief into the Kingdom (Luke 23:34, 43).
- After he was restored, Job was to pray for his friends to be forgiven by God. After Jesus rose from the dead, He restored His friends to service for God (John 20-21).
Job’s response was understandable. We’ve probably all asked “why me?” and complained that life isn’t fair. Jesus could have avoided all suffering, yet He chose the path of humility, service, and love so that we could be redeemed and made righteous. “Out of the anguish of His soul He shall see and be satisfied; by His knowledge shall the righteous one, My Servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and He shall bear their iniquities” (Isaiah 53:11). He kept His focus on the eternal results, and therefore, “for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
When life gets hard, when pain and suffering comes, when things don’t go the way we want, when people are more irritating than encouraging, instead of questioning and complaining let us fix our eyes on Jesus. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who in every respect has been tempted [tested] as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16).
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant that yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interest, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:3-8).
© 2019 Dawn Rutan. Image copyright free from pixabay.com. The opinions stated do not necessarily reflect the views of my church or employer.