Job and Loving a Friend Who is Suffering

job and his friends cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward

Job and Loving a Friend Who is Suffering

Here's what we can learn from Job. If Job’s friends knew this they might’ve been better friends in his time of need.

  1. Job never discovered why he suffered. No explanation. Because there isn’t one.
  2. Job’s questions were unanswered. Job asked questions. God responded with more. God never answered those either.
  3. Job’s friends were smart. But they were only theologically precise. The first three friends explained why Job was suffering. The fourth explained how Job should be suffering. Neither were helpful.
  4. Job’s suffering is explained to us, but not Job, as a wager between God and Satan. No earthly explanation for Job’s suffering. Just a gamble he never hears about.
  5. Satan lost the bet but Job lost more. Job was used in a game he never consented to for evil to play with. This feels like life sometimes.
  6. Often it's better to be silent than to be right. Job’s friends passed the theology exam but failed the friendship test.
  7. The meaning of suffering is hidden from us. We often don’t know why we suffer. Explanations entertain our minds and distract us from our pain. But there’s no answer.
  8. Don't be surprised when you suffer if you are attacked or abandoned even by your closest friends. Suffering is unattractive, scary, and discomforting. It brings out the best and the worst in us.
  9. Our minds crave answers. Job found peace beyond answers. One day Job could reflect and say, “WTF was THAT all about?! But life’s good now.” Peace beyond the pain maybe.
  10. All is mystery. Is this the impulse behind God’s questions to Job? Life with all its joys and miseries is a mystery we can explore and appreciate but never fully understand.

Be a good friend.

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