What do we do when crises hit? At various times in our lives we encounter suffering and hardship. When this happen we may ask, "why is this happening?" We are not alone in our quest to understand. Job faced unspeakable tragedy and searched for answers. We can find comfort from his story.
Job was suffering immense pain. Both he and those around him had a choice in how to respond to that pain. We can learn from the example of Job, his wife, and his three friends as we encounter moments of pain.
Job's friends started out right. Unfortunately, that didn't last long. They subscribed to a common belief found in antiquity - the "doctrine of retribution." This belief suggest people only suffer because of wrong or sin. Since Job was suffering he must not have been the man they thought he was. They tried to find blame for Job's suffering. Sometimes we seek answers for our suffering and look in the wrong places.
Sometimes its hard to be faithful. We face trials and hardships. Job was in such a situation, yet he still remained loyal to God.
Job's friends had made several mistakes in their attempts to comfort Job. Yet they had good intentions. They could have abandoned him, but they did not. Their intentions may have been good, but it caused Job tremendous pain. Sometimes our intention may cause others pain or we may suffer pain at the hands of others' intentions.
In Job's quest to understand the reason for suffering he struggles to gain a handle. The narrator reminds us that wisdom is not easily found. We are reminded that wisdom begins with seeking God.
Job makes a final attempt to understand his suffering. He seeks a day in court with God. He wants to know what he has done to deserve this suffering. Sometimes we suffer and it doesn't make sense to us why we are suffering so. Sometimes we bring greater suffering on ourselves we assume suffering is only caused as a consequence of sin.
Elihu appears suddenly on the scene of Job 32. He is not introduced beforehand nor is he mentioned after his speech. Why is he included in the story of Job? Does he play the role of youthful foolishness or is he foreshadowing God's own words? Sometimes we can act with arrogance.
In the final section of Job, God confronts Job for his demands. Job who is seeking to defend his righteousness to his friends, has suggested God has unjustly punished him. Now God confronts Job. The end result is Job's repentance. But the section also reminds us that God has established order in all things.