We all love stories that have a “happily ever after” ending. But real life doesn’t always work out that way, does it? For most of us, it’s only a matter of time before our happy days are met with a crisis or tragedy or illness and we feel life has been changed forever.
The Book of Job
The book of Job tells the story of a man who lost everything, but in the end he is blessed with twice as much as before. Sounds like a happy ending, right?
But what about the pain and sorrow he endured? What about the children he lost? I can’t imagine another child replacing the one I lost. I mean, yes, I’m sure having another child would help heal the hurt, but my heart would still yearn for the child no longer sitting at the table.
I know time heals, but the heart never forgets.
When I think of Job, I think about a faithful man who trusted God in darkest hours of his life. His faith wasn’t based on how many blessings God granted him. His faith was based on the fact that despite what happened, God was still God and worthy of worship. Job trusted God – even unto death.
“Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” Job 13:15
I’ve often wondered if my faith was that strong. Like the faithful men and women of the reformation, many of whom died terrible, painful deaths, I want to have that kind of unwavering faith. I want to believe that my faith is strong, that should this life present me with a choice between serving God or facing death that I would choose God.
Not every faithful believer’s life has a happy ending.
1. “Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.” Genesis 4:8
2. “On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias danced for the guests and pleased Herod so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted and had John beheaded in the prison. His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother.” Matthew 14:6-11
3. “And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” Acts 7:59, 60
The Bible is full of stories of faithful people who find themselves in situations none of us would ever want to find ourselves in. Life on this earth is full of unhappy realities. If you live long enough, you will find yourself faced with unexpected trials, devastating losses, and more.
Let’s look at what Job lost:
“One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the heavens and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
Complete and utter devastation. He lost almost everything he owned or loved in a single day. And despite his grief, Job fell to the ground in worship.
Job 1: 20, 21 says, “At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.”
He remained faithful to God, even in the midst of his pain. How is your faith today? Do you remain steadfast in your faith even when things fall apart? Do you trust God even when you don’t know how things will turn out?
“Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.” 1 Corinthians 4:5 NIV.
It’s easy to trust God when things are going well and we feel comfortable. It’s much harder to trust God when our future seems uncertain and worry grips our heart with fear. There are times in this life when questions will go unanswered, prayers will not receive the answer we were looking for, and our days will not look like the ideal picture we had in mind. God will bring to light those things we don’t understand in His perfect time.
But, despite our uncertainty, we can trust that God has a plan and that in the end, all things will work together for good. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
As far as we know, Job never knew or understood why he faced the trials he faced. He had no answer to the question of “why” to comfort him. They just happened. For no apparent reason. He wasn’t doing anything wrong. He hadn’t made a series of bad choices that led to the death of his children, the loss of his farm, or the debilitating illnesses he endured. They just happened.
And sometimes things happen in our lives that we can’t understand. Answers we may never know to questions we never wanted to ask.
But, a thorough study of the Bible reveals to us that there is a happy ending coming for those who remain steadfast and faithful – for those who do not lose hope in the midst of trials.
A Happy Ending for God’s People
Job 14:14 says, “If someone dies, will they live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal to come.” NIV.
Whether we have a life of ease or hardship on this earth, we have this hope. “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die…” John 11:25 NIV.
The Book of Job Bible Study
I hope you’ll join me as we continue to look at the book of Job in the coming weeks. Be sure to join my mailing list below to stay updated on the latest posts!