What the Book of Job Teaches Us about Suffering

In the beginning, Job had it made. God blessed him with wealth, ten children, health, and many possessions. Job loved God and was a righteous man, but Satan told God that Job surely wouldn’t fear God had he not been so blessed. The Lord allowed Satan to tempt Job, and that’s when things turn ugly.

First Job’s cattle are taken—sheep, oxen, donkey, camels. Next, all ten of Job’s children are killed when a house collapses upon them. Then Satan afflicted Job with horrible sores all over his body. After this, Job cries out to God and speaks of his anguish.

The Book of Job is hard to read; watching as a righteous man endures such loss and suffering. But in the end, the Lord restores all that had been taken away. Surely we can learn from the suffering of Job and bring those lessons into our own trials.

Life’s not fair.

Job cries out to the Lord that life isn’t fair. “He said this, ‘Why do the wicked survive, grow old, become mighty in power?’ It’s a good question, right? But the thing is, life isn’t fair. Life on this earth isn’t fair; all we need to do is look at the crucifix and we’ll see an example of that. But this life on earth is not the end of the story, and that’s the catch. And I think that accepting the fact that yes, sometimes I get what I don’t deserve, but accepting that is comfort in and of itself,” says Gary Zimak.

In that acceptance, Zimak finds comfort in uniting himself to Jesus’ suffering. “Rather than complain and look at other people and say, ‘Why does everything go in their favor; why can’t I ever get a break?’ It’s good to look inside and unite myself with the Lord and say, ‘Alright Lord, nothing went right for you. You were persecuted; you were abused throughout your life. Now let me unite closer to you.’ And that makes me feel better!”

Cry out to God

“When I cry out to the Lord—and I’ve done this, I’ve gotten in my car and I’ve yelled at him—and I’ve grown closer to him that way. I don’t think anyone should be afraid to express their opinion to the Lord. That’s a good thing; that’s what Job did. And interestingly enough, in the Book of Job for the first 37 chapters, Job was pouring out his heart to God. He ended up crying out, where are you? Why can’t you help me! God did not say one word to Job. It wasn’t until chapter 38 that he finally spoke. So, what I would say to anybody who is crying out to the Lord—who is speaking, who is asking for relief, who is praying and not getting an answer—to be patient; the Lord will speak when it’s time. Just because he’s silent doesn’t mean he’s not there and that he’s not listening. He’s there and he is listening,” explains Zimak.

Patience isn’t easy, especially when the suffering is great. But maybe if we take a page from the Book of Job, maybe we’ll realize we aren’t alone. We can understand that the suffering of this life isn’t the end of the story, and God will never abandon us.

Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.