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Praise and Honesty in Suffering

I can’t even begin to understand the amount of suffering that overwhelmed Job all at once. I have days when everything seems to go wrong and days when I can’t get out of a funk, but nothing compares to what Job experienced.

First, a messenger tells Job his oxen and donkeys have been stolen and his servants killed. Before he can finish speaking, another messenger informs Job that a fire has killed the sheep and even more servants. Then another arrives saying the camels have been stolen and those servants killed. Finally, yet another messenger tells Job his sons and daughters were together in one of their houses when it collapsed, killing them all. Not only did all of this happen to Job, but it all happened at once, with four messengers relaying the dismal news one after the other.

As great as these circumstances were, Job’s reaction was even greater. By tearing his robe and shaving his head, it’s obvious Job was in an unimaginable amount of grief. Yet he still worshipped God. In fact, he praises His name and “did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.”

When we undergo suffering, whether or not it’s as extreme as Job’s was, God does not ask us to be robots and feel nothing. He doesn’t ask us to pretend to be happy. Job’s response reminds us that we don’t have to hide our grief from God. Grief is not sin, and we can grieve while still praising and worshipping God. There is no doubt that Job was extremely confused about why these things happened. But in the middle of his confusion and frustration, Job came honestly and openly before God, still able to praise Him and acknowledge His goodness.

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