I’m currently doing a chronological Bible reading plan, and just started on the book of Job this past week. This isn’t the first time I’ve read through Job. But it is different this time. As a part of the leadership team for God-Living Girls, a group of Jesus-loving ladies who also happen to have chronic illnesses, my focus has shifted. I’ve become more aware of the pain many of the ladies in our group live with in on a daily basis. Not just physical pain, but also the pain of being misunderstood. As I read through Job this time, I’m seeing it through the eyes of those who suffer.
Those who live with chronic illness know what it is to be misunderstood. Many churches teach healing as a promise from God, and there’s nothing wrong with that. One of the Old Testament names of God is Jehovah Rapha, the Lord who heals. I long for healing as much as anyone. But when we pray and healing doesn’t come, how do we learn to deal with our present reality? Do we live under condemnation for not receiving supernatural healing? Or do we accept the fact that God has not currently chosen to heal us and seek to walk in a way that pleases Him in spite of our daily health struggles?
As I read through Job and study the principles taught there, I believe God wants me to share weekly lessons from this book. Lessons From Job will be a series of articles on how to live victoriously when God chooses not to heal. I will be sharing the truths God applies to my own life during this season. This series is not to cause anyone to stop praying for healing. I continue daily to pray for healing for myself, those in our group, and others facing illness. It is to help those of us who have not currently received healing to know how to live in a way that pleases God in our current situation.
The Prologue to Job introduces us to the subject of this book, Job, and gives us God’s opinion concerning him. In the first three verses of the book, we learn:
- Job lived in the land of Uz. According to the Introduction to Job in the Life Application Study Bible, Uz was probably located northeast of Palestine, near desert land and between Damascus and the Euphrates River. For our purposes, this tells us that Job was a real person living in a real place.
- God “bragged” on Job, saying he was blameless, an upright man of integrity. Remember this, when we get to later chapters where Job is unjustly accused by his “friends.”
- Job “feared God and shunned evil.”Another good report!
- Job was a wealthy man, blessed with a large family and much material wealth. In fact, we are told he was the richest man in the entire area.
I don’t know about you, but if God used similar words to describe me I would not expect what follows. Because after a brief description of Job’s sons and daughters, God invites us into a conversation between Himself and some angels, including the fallen angel Satan. Satan, originally one of God’s good angels, rebelled against God and because of his pride was corrupted and fell. Surprisingly, God singles out Satan from this meeting with angels. Note that God is the one who initiates the following dialogue with Satan.
In this passage, I see God’s sovereignty. Satan was not in charge of this whole situation. GOD WAS – AND IS – IN CONTROL! He not only initiated this first recorded conversation with Satan, He also told Satan what he could do to Job. Each time the book of Job records a conversation between God and Satan, this is true. So the first principle to take hold of concerning suffering of any kind is that God is sovereign. This simply means that God, as the ruler of the Universe, has the right to do whatever he wants. He is in complete control over everything that happens. This is the underlying principle of the entire book of Job.
As we continue through the book of Job, hold onto these two foundational truths:
- God is sovereign. He – never Satan – is the one with total control over everything that happens.
- Job was a righteous man, not perfect, but a man known for his integrity. God was not punishing Job for his sin.
Until next week, meditate on these two key understandings from the book of Job. They form the foundation upon which I want to build, as we look at Job’s friends. And remember, as born-again Christians, we too have been declared righteous. The penalty for our sins has been paid in full by the shed blood of Jesus Christ!