Job’s Suffering and Our Suffering


Job lost practically everything that he had. The Sabeans stole his livestock and killed Job’s servants (Job 1:14-15). His sons and daughters were killed by a “great wind,” probably something similar to a tornado (Job 1:18-19). Job had a physical condition that produced boils “from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head” (Job 2:7). As if that weren’t enough, his own wife told him to “curse God and die” (Job 2:9).

All of these trials make our suffering look like a mosquito bite on a fishing trip. Even so, Job continued to trust in the Lord (Job 13:15).

Job was a righteous and faithful man (Job 1:1,8). His suffering was not the direct result of any evil that he had committed. He always strove to take into account the will of God in everything that he did.

In contrast, many of us today suffer because we make crucial decisions without first considering God’s will in the matter. We put God “on the back burner” in our lives and, like Frank Sinatra, sing enthusiastically “I did it my way.” When we suffer, we wonder why.

Our suffering is different from Job’s in that we sometimes bring it on ourselves by not giving God the place in our lives that He deserves. Unlike Job’s case, many times our sins are the direct cause our suffering.

However, whether we’re a faithful Christian or an impenitent unbeliever, sometimes we will suffer when it is not the result of anything that we have done. As Christians, we need to make sure that our hardship is not the result of doing things “our way.” By reading God’s word and humbly submitting to it, we will avoid a lot of needless sadness in life!

This is exactly why the writer of Proverbs says, “With all your heart you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment. Always let him lead you, and he will clear the road for you to follow. Don’t ever think that you are wise enough, but respect the Lord and stay away from evil. This will make you healthy, and you will feel strong. Honor the Lord by giving him [priority in your life]. Then you will have more … than you will ever need. (Proverbs 3:5-10, Contemporary English Version).

–Jerry Falk