Have You Considered My Servant?

The image above was taken by drone over Sunset Camp at Wadi Rum, Jordan. This is the region where Israel wandered on the eastern side of the Jordan River. It is also part of Edom, near Saudi Arabia. The Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible from about 200 B.C., tells us that Job once lived in the area. 

Author - Arlie Francis

Grasping for the Lord's glory and position, the "sons of God" (fallen angels) made a return appearance before God's throne. Satan was their spokesman. Having previously grasped for their Creator's glory and authority in the spiritual realm, Satan and his posse of fallen angels (demons) sought to unthrone Him in the hearts of men and women. Insurrection was their objective, this time not in heaven but on earth.

The Existence of God
Life is a tapestry woven with threads of joy and sorrow, peace and turmoil, health and suffering. While the brighter threads add beauty and joy to life, the darker ones—especially those of suffering—often seem misplaced, leaving many to question, "Why?" So it was for Job, a man who one moment had everything and in the next lost everything except his life and his wife.

Suffering wears many faces: the pain of loss, the struggle of illness, the sting of failure, and the aching of unfulfilled desire. It is a universal human experience, as varied as the lives of those who endure it. The presence of God amid suffering is a thread that runs deep throughout the fabric of Scripture. God is not a distant observer. He is present in the heartache, understanding our pain and working through even the most wrenching experiences for His greater purposes.

Finding Meaning in Suffering
The notion of finding God's purpose in pain is both challenging and comforting. It offers a lifeline—a hope that suffering is not in vain. Throughout history, countless individuals have discovered profound purpose in their suffering. Imagine the story of a mother who, having lost a child to a deadly disease, channels her grief into the development of a cure, saving thousands. Or consider those who, wrestling with addictions, transform their struggles into compelling narratives that inspire others towards recovery. God continues to write amazing stories in the lives He has allowed adversity to touch.

Hold On Tight
Biblical faith that God knows what He is doing, even when we don't, is the anchor holding believers fast on the surface of wind-tossed seas of suffering. Biblical faith provides a perspective that sees below immediate pain to a transcendent narrative where every tear is one day accounted for and every moment of agony understood. Faith whispers to the weary heart that the tapestry of life is still being woven, that the dark threads are necessary to complete God's artful work. Not everything is as it seems on the surface. The Book of Job raises unsettling questions.

In the first chapter, God asks Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? No one is like him on earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil." Satan's reply? "Yeah, right. He is faithful to You only because You protect him from me. Let me have Job, and he will curse you even as we (Satan and the fallen angels) do." Strangely, at least to me, God grants Satan's request with one caveat. "Don't touch Job," then later in chapter two, "spare his life."

But God...
Just as Job did (also Adam and Eve), Satan once had it all. But it wasn't enough. See Ezekiel 28:11-9. God's throne was what Satan wanted: His glory and power. Satan's objective was to steal Job out of God's hands and demonstrate his independent dominion over what is on earth. An unseen spiritual war rages just outside of what is seen, heard, and touched. Death is the result. Death is Satan's objective.

Physical death is a reality all of mankind must deal with. Everybody dies. Throughout all of history, only two people have escaped physical death. Enoch and Elijah. Everybody else died, even Jesus! And yet, mankind as a whole seems to strive for a  pain-free, deathless future. If you have enough money, you can buy it. If you work out three times a week, you can delay it. If you are powerful enough, you can take it from others. If you get enough people to vote for it, you can be _____?

Job was not without fault. But he refused to buy into the lie proposed by his friends. "God has taken everything from you, Job, because you are a sinner." No! God allowed Satan to take everything from Job so that he would teach Satan a lesson, "You lose." The line of sight biblical story places Job in history shortly after the Tower of Babel when God dispersed mankind according to His confusion of their single language. The Septuagint (Greek translation of the 200 B.C. Hebrew Bible) provides background on who Job is and where he lived. We discover in Chapter 42 that Job is a descendant of Abraham and Isaac through Esau. He lived in the borderlands between Edom and Arabia.    

The connective tissue of the various strains of the biblical narrative point to the Redeemer longed for by Job (Job 19:25-27). He is the "seed of the woman" that has already destroyed Satan. He doesn't know it yet.

The path through suffering is winding and often shrouded in shadow. For some, it is a path that includes the daunting question of "Why?" Yet, it is also a path where many find strength they never knew they had and a sense of purpose that transforms their perspective on life.

To those walking through seasons of hardship, they may very well be the dark soil from which new life, strength, and purpose emerge. May you embrace this season, not as the finale but as a pivotal chapter in your ongoing story, and may faith light your way as you discover God's profound purpose in your pain.
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