Recently, I had a conversation with a friend and Job came up in conversation. In American Christianity, we, like our culture, want things bigger and better and flashier and faster and busier. Because of our infatuation (lust) with wealth, prosperity, and comfort, we love to ask any opportunity we get to ask for a “double portion.” When we tell the story of Job, it is no different. We skip to the end and talk about how he was blessed with more wealth, more kids to replace the old, and how he got to live out the rest of his days in abundance.
But we need to stop for a minute and be honest about one part of the story. The Lord gave him more kids and this definitely a great blessing. However, since when does new kids replace old kids that have died? I have no doubt that Job was deeply grateful for more children so that he did not have to spend the rest of his days in a haunting, lonely silence. God was very good to him. Yet, you cannot tell me for a minute that there were not moments he still missed his deceased children. There had to be days that he still wept, walked out to their graves, and mourned. After all, God doing a new thing does erase the old. It helps, no doubt! But let us not pretend that Job never looked back, never cried another tear, never saw in his mind the face of one of his kids that had passed. I do not believe that the new set of blessings chased away all of the pain and heartache that he had endured.
Job suffered. Job, a man of God, in the will of God, suffered. God is not going to protect you from all pain and suffering. I wish He would, but He only promises to be with you, to help you, and to bring you through on the other side with more of Him both in your heart and character. That’s your promise. Job did not get his children back. They were gone. Period. And more kids, though a wonderful blessing and comfort, would never replace the ones he had lost. Job came out of his pain with abundance, but do not be a silly Christian and assume that the new abundance took away all of his pain. His kids were still dead. His heart, I am sure from time to time, still really hurt when their faces came to mind.
What is unnerving is that God allowed all of this. Satan asked permission and God gave it to him. In the end, God took care of Job, blessed Job, and revealed his goodness. Job had peace and joy once again. But there was pain, suffering, and heartache that, in my opinion, even with all of the new abundance, did not vanish.
Why did I write this? I want all of us as Christians to be thoughtful people who understand that we will suffer and that other people will suffer. It is a part of life and does not mean that God is against you or that the season you are in is never going to change. I also wanted to address the silly notion that Job ended up so grateful for all of his new blessings that he never cried another tear. Job lost. He lost so, so much. He never saw his first set of kids again. Yet the story ends with God stepping in, being very good and generous once more, and creating a life for Job that he could wake up excited to live.