Today Job says “How long will you torment my soul, and break me in pieces with words? These ten times you have reproached me.” Job’s friends’ further attempts at explaining Job’s suffering only add additional pain to the already suffering Job.
Later in the story, Jesus’ half-brother James will provide some good advice on how to respond to one’s suffering – “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms… Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (James 5:13,16). Praying for Job would be way more beneficial than trying to rationalize suffering which is sometimes unexplainable. But that’s not the approach that Job’s friends took.
Job’s deep wounds lead him to cry out, “Oh, that my words were written! Oh, that they were inscribed in a book! That they were engraved on a rock with an iron pen and lead, forever! For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another, How my heart yearns within me!”
At this point in Job’s life, could Job have known that his words would be written in a book that lasts forever? A book that we can read today and learn more about the Lord, the spiritual realm, Satan, suffering, waiting on God, origin of righteousness, etc. Could Job have known that? No. But what Job does know is that the day will come when his suffering will end and he will stand face to face with the Lord — and we can have that same assurance. At the end of the story, in the book of Revelation, the Lord explains that the ones who are saved by grace through faith will one day stand before the Lord and our faith will become sight – “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4). But in the meantime, we must trust the Lord with our pain and suffering, just like Job. I’m sure Job couldn’t even imagine the magnitude of the impact that his life would have on the world, but we see that God wastes nothing, and He uses all things, even suffering, for our good and His glory.
Eventually the Lord is going to appear and guess what? God is going to ask Job to pray for his friends so that they may be healed, just as James said we should do for one another. But first, Eliphaz feels the need to list for Job all the possible ways he may have sinned, resulting in his afflictions. That’s up tomorrow, so keep reading. (Job 19:1-21:34)