The Story of Job
Before all of the problems of 2020 began I was drawn to write a Job story for children. Helping someone going through struggles is hard for all of us. The story of Job so well pictures us trying to comfort others when we ourselves do not understand how. So I began to read scripture, look up word meanings and check out thoughts of the best of Bible scholars. Then I put the pencil to the paper. I did not illustrate the story but added a few pictures of stay at home life on the farm.
The story of Job may be the oldest book in the Bible. It probably took place sometime before the time of Abraham. The book is considered by all scholars as a book of beautiful majestic poetry full of wisdom. That is what I wanted to glean from my study, “wisdom.” I have much more to learn from this book, but for now here is my story.
Now Job was a really rich man. He lived in the land of Uz. He was a God-fearing man who lived his life to please God. He and his wife had seven sons and three daughters. He served as a High Priest for his family and offered burnt offerings to God for forgiveness of any sins his family might have done or did commit. Job had thousands of sheep and camels, hundreds of oxen and donkeys and many servants who helped take care of his livestock. As the story unfolds we see that the old accuser, Satan is talking to God about Job. Satan tells God that the only reason Job fears God is because He has blessed him with so much. Satan tells God that if all those blessing were removed, Job would no longer love God. But God knows Job is a good man so he gives Satan permission to test Job. He could do whatever he wanted to Job, but he could not take his life. Within just a short time all of Job’s children, servants and livestock were dead. Then Job was covered with sores and boils from his head to his toe. How awful this must have been. Everything had been taken from Job but his wife and he was suffering day and night and could not get any rest.
Now three of Jobs friends heard the bad news and quickly came to Job’s rescue or so they thought. They wanted to comfort him and try to say things to help him get through this difficult time. But one thing we notice is that Job’s friends never prayed for Job. They just gave elaborate opinions as to why Job was going through this difficult time. They all told Job that this difficult time was because of his sin. They told Job if he would just repent God would forgive him and things would get better. They were accusing Job rather than comforting him. And they were accusing God also. Job knew that he had loved and feared God and that he had ask forgiveness everyday for himself and his family. He loved God and knew that God loved him too. After listening to his friends and putting up with all the pain from the boils and sores Job could stand it no more. He began to question why he had ever been born. He questioned God as to why all this had happened.
A young man named Elihu just happened to be listening to the discussion between Job and his friends. He could not hold back any longer. He knew the friends were only making things worse. He told Job that through suffering we can gain wisdom. Suffering can show us how dependent we are on God. It can also bring out things about ourselves that we have never seen before. When we go through suffering we learn how to be more understanding to other people when they go through difficult times. And most importantly he told Job, through suffering we love God for who He is not all the things He has done for us.
When Elihu had finished talking to Job, God showed up in a whirlwind. I’m sure Job was awestruck at the sight of the whirlwind and the sound of God’s voice. He probably forgot about his pain momentarily at hearing God’s voice coming out of the whirlwind. God is here Job cried! I’m sure Job thought, now I can get answers. Job had always known who God was, but now in his suffering he would know God personally. Job thought God would explain why he had to suffer and his friends thought God would explain that Job’s sin was the reason he had suffered. But God did not do either. Instead God began to question Job. Where were you, Job, when I laid the foundation of the Earth? He told Job about all the things he had created and the special abilities he had given each of his creations. He ask Job if he could handle taking care of the oceans, animals, storms, and all the other things. Of course Job could not keep the planets in orbit or the stars in the sky. He could not make the winds blow or the oceans stay in their boundaries. Job was quickly humbled by the awesomeness of God. He could do none of the things God was talking about. He soon realized he no longer needed God to explain why he had suffered so. God was awesome beyond words. Job said to God, “I will serve you just because you are you.” And at that moment Satan was defeated in his effort to get Job to turn against God.
You see Job learned that he had been like a good piece of scrap metal. You can put that piece of metal into a fire and the heat will purify it. Then it can be shaped into something wonderful. Job knew that God saw him as worthy to be put to a fiery test. He had not been punished at all. Job knew if he held on to God he would come through this time of suffering refined into something wonderful. Job also knew how much God loved him.
Now God said to the three friends, “You have not said right things. You have not said the truth about me. I have ask Job to pray for you. I will hear his prayer and answer it.” Job prayed for his friends and forgave them. Job soon recovered from all the sores and boils. God blessed him with more children and much livestock once again. Job lived to be one hundred and forty years old.
All of Job’s suffering could have left him angry, but instead he continued to turn to God. We can become sad and angry too when things are bad. In those times we need to remember that we do not need reasons or explanations. What we need is God in all his majesty. God is always with us. He will never leave us especially in our times of suffering and sorrow. Give thanks to Him and praise His name for all He has done, is doing and will continue to do. Our words of praise and thanks to God are our actions of faith. God is bigger than any troubles we go through.