Job 16:1 Then Job answered and said: 2 “I have heard many such things; miserable comforters are you all. 3 Shall windy words have an end? Or what provokes you that you answer? 4 I also could speak as you do, if you were in my place; I could join words together against you and shake my head at you.” ESV
Many of you are familiar with the book of Job. The Bible says that Job was a perfect and upright man; one who feared God and hated evil. Yet this righteous man endured a season of suffering that only few of us could even imagine.
Those familiar with the story of Job know that he did not suffer because of his sin. Instead, he suffered because of his righteousness.
Job 1:9 Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? 10 Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” 12 And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord. ESV
No one but God and Satan knew the real reason for Job’s suffering. The natural assumption was that Job was being punished for some sin. Therefore, Job’s friends, like many of us, tried to fix Job’s problem by telling him to confess his sins and admit his guilt.
If Job’s friends could have seen behind the curtain, they would have understood that this poor man did not need their condemnation; but instead he needed their affirmation. Little did anyone know that Job was God’s leading player in a contest between He and Satan.
Perhaps the book of Job has been given to us to help us understand, that all too often in life, there is more that lies below the surface than what lies above the surface. Perhaps it was given to us to help us realize that we do not always have to have all the answers; nor do we not always have to fix the problem. Perhaps it was given to help us see that sometimes there is a greater purpose for suffering than we can imagine. Perhaps it was given to us to help us learn that sometimes, the best thing we can do for those who are suffering, is simply walk beside them.