Trials and tribulations. They’re present, they’re expected, and they’re certainly not foreign to us as Christians living in a sinful world. We, like our Savior, could probably even say we’re well acquainted with them and the griefs accompanying them (Is. 53:3). But Christ isn’t the only One who can relate to us in this way. Job can as well. The sum of the sufferings felt by our Savior and His servants remind us that we’re not alone. In Job 19:1-29, we see the inner battle that this faithful servant of God faces as he experiences unimaginable loss and pain. How did Job handle such hardships, and how should we?
In Affliction, Job Expressed His Hurt and Confusion
Verses 1-5 of Job 19 read, “Then Job answered and said, How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words? These ten times have ye reproached me: ye are not ashamed that ye make yourselves strange to me. And be it indeed that I have erred, mine error remaineth with myself. If indeed ye will magnify yourselves against me, and plead against me my reproach:”
Here in such uncertainty, we see Job questioning the duration of his affliction and its cause. He lifted up his voice and cried out, willing even to humble himself just to have the answers in his pain. We ourselves are not guaranteed answers in the various trials we may face. We often don’t even know the duration of them, but we do have the promise that they won’t last forever. Amidst the inner turmoil Job was experiencing, he recognized the hand of God upon his situation.
He Acknowledged God’s Sovereignty
In Verses 6-13, notice how often God is mentioned, “Know now that God hath overthrown me, and hath compassed me with his net. Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard: I cry aloud, but there is no judgment. He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, and he hath set darkness in my paths. He hath stripped me of my glory, and taken the crown from my head. He hath destroyed me on every side, and I am gone: and mine hope hath he removed like a tree. He hath also kindled his wrath against me, and he counteth me unto him as one of his enemies. His troops come together, and raise up their way against me, and encamp round about my tabernacle. He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me.”
Job recognized the hand of God on his affliction. It was God that had allowed this to enter into his life, and it was God who could take it away. Awareness of these truths stirs within us a greater fear of our King and causes us to have a deeper dependence upon Him in our times of need. There is a comfort that comes in affliction when we know that no trial can come upon us until it has first been sifted through our Almighty God’s hands. Peace comes in knowing that the One who allows trials to enter our lives faithfully ordains them and holds us in His hand in the process. He is the One who brings storms to strengthen us, and He is the One who has the power to calm them. If the hardships we faced were a result of mere chance that left God having to come up with a plan “B,” we wouldn’t be able to rest in His sovereignty as He fully intended for us to. We can anchor ourselves in the truths of God’s character amidst any storm, as the rest is guaranteed to fade.
Worldly Treasures and Comforts Fail
In this part of the passage, we see Job shifts his focus to his current circumstances. Verses 14- 20 read, “My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me. They that dwell in mine house, and my maids, count me for a stranger: I am an alien in their sight. I called my servant, and he gave me no answer; I intreated him with my mouth. My breath is strange to my wife, though I intreated for the children’s sake of mine own body. Yea, young children despised me; I arose, and they spake against me. All my inward friends abhorred me: and they whom I loved are turned against me. My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth.”
As we read his words, we see the reality of everything being taken from him. His friends forgot him, and he remained alone. Those who dwelt with him saw him as a stranger. Servants didn’t answer his calls. His breath was offensive to his wife, and his brothers didn’t desire his presence. His children were now as the dust and the young children around him that remained despised him. Those whom he loved turned against him in hatred. The loss he experienced was unimaginable, and all in a short span of time. What was he to do now? This servant of God was afflicted down to his bones and his flesh.
Yet He Called Upon His God
As verses 21- 24 explain, Job cries out with these words: “Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me. Why do ye persecute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh? Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!”
Job once again cried out to God and acknowledged His sovereignty in his situation. He didn’t hold back from asking questions and He didn’t keep silent in his pain. Several chapters later we see that God heard and inclined His ear unto Job. He wouldn’t leave him in his affliction.
He Remains our Redeemer
In all of this, Job knew that one thing was sure:
“For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me. But ye should say, Why persecute we him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me? Be ye afraid of the sword: for wrath bringeth the punishments of the sword, that ye may know there is a judgment.” (Job 19:25-29)
Job’s hope was in the God he served. When God was all he had left, he clung to Him and waited for His salvation. He fixed his eyes on what was to come and on the future reality of seeing God face to face. That was his hope in his turmoil, and it was enough to quiet his heart. No matter how numerous our own trials are, we have a High Priest who can sympathize with us. We have the hope of seeing Him face to face. Our Redeemer is on our side, and He lives today. We will be unmovable when we anchor our hope in Christ, who promised that He’d never leave or forsake us. He who lovingly governs your every joy and trial has promised you eternal life. Though Job lost every earthly comfort and pleasure, he didn’t lose hope. The same Redeemer who proved Himself to be faithful in Job’s life will be faithful until the end.
How are you resting and rejoicing in the reality that your Redeemer lives amidst life’s trials? Have you been expectantly looking towards that day when you will see Him face to face?
Written by NBB Alumna: Hannah Kohner