I haven’t read the book of Job in a while and recently decided to in preparation for a class I was teaching at my church titled “Overcoming Life’s Mountains.” That book is a tale of tragedy, depression, integrity and victory all wrapped into one. Job experiences strife and trouble unlike anything I could ever imagine. Through his experiences we can see the duality of pain.
On one side of the coin, Job is drawn closer to God through his troubles. Job has lost his wealth, his livestock, his servants and his children and still desires to worship God. “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (Job 1:21). He was afflicted with painful boils all over his body and was still patient with God during the most excruciating of circumstances (Job 2:10).
But there’s another side of pain, the side that makes us question the very presence of God. Job spends the majority of the book complaining to God. And we say rightly so. How could God even allow Job to go through such things, especially a man who lived a righteous life (Job 1:1)? And yet, God does allow it. And in Job’s questions, in his doubt, he is able to draw closer to God.
In the end, we find God answering Job’s accusations. I’ve found that God did not answer with the answers Job was seeking. God in turn asks questions of his own. Questions of his power, his glory and his wisdom. He basically tells Job, “Who do you think you are?” Job hears all of the words of God and is brought to a place of humility where only true pain can bring us.
Therein lies the duality of pain. The seasons of suffering in our lives do not need to destroy us. They, in fact, can bring us into a better understanding of God and how wonderful he truly is. We can rejoice in affliction for through its lessons we are made complete (James 1:2-4).