I, Job 

“Though he may slay me, yet I will trust him.”  Job 13:15

The Book of Job is a parable that tells the tale of a man whose virtues and good fortune are overshadowed by severe misfortune. The colourful scene where Satan approaches God is an allegory demonstrating God's power over human destiny:

“One day, the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came with them. God said to Satan: ‘Where have you come from?' Satan answered: ‘From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.' Then God said: ‘Have you considered my servant Job? No one on earth is like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.' ‘Does Job fear God for nothing?' Satan replied: ‘Have you not put a hedge around him, his household, and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.' God said to Satan: ‘Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.' Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.” (Job 1:3-12)

Job then withstands six great temptations with heroic patience. In a single day, he receives four separate messages, with the devastating news that criminals and natural disasters have claimed the lives of all his livestock, servants and children. In grief, Job shaves his head and tears his clothes, yet still thanks God in his prayers.

Satan is then permitted to test Job again and causes him to have painful boils on his skin.  Although Job fights to accept his situation, his wife encourages him to abandon worshipping God altogether, give up and die. Still, Job refuses to curse God. 

The seventh and greatest trial awaits the arrival of his three friends, Eliphaz, Baldad, and Sophar. They sit withAuthor selling Books on Rosicrucianism and Books on Secret Traditions him in silent mourning for seven days. When Job speaks on the seventh day, he is blamed by his friends as the cause of his misfortune. Job denies this is the case, but they do not listen, and he eventually breaks,  blaming God for his troubles but never losing hope in his mercy. However, the youngest of the three friends, Eliphaz, eventually speaks up to say that suffering is not always caused by wrongdoing and that the ways of God sometimes have to be accepted as a mystery. Nonetheless, somewhat ironically, it was Job's closest friends and not Satan who caused him to finally fracture. 

When Job's suffering is eventually brought to an end, he asks God for the reason behind his trials, and patiently waits for an answer. He is then told about the importance of submitting to God, even in the face of inexplicable suffering. Job is eventually restored to his prosperity and a new family.

In this parable, we must remember that suffering is an integral part of human existence on the material plane we occupy. It is a place of continuous change and entropy, of both good and evil in equal measure. Indeed, one of the lessons in the Book of Job is the realisation that what once was evil can, in time, turn into good. Thus, Job's story is a testament to the complexity of God's love and mercy and the necessity to retain hope in the face of worry or oppression. It is that flicker of spiritual light concealed within us, the presence of hope that ceaselessly burns even in the darkest of times.

In states of distress, anxiety, and suffering, we do well to remember that we hold a tiny part of God's light within us, even if we have lost sight of it. However bad it gets, whether we realise it or not, we are always in God's favour, and it would be far worse without him. 

This article is the copyright (c) of M.R. Osborne, 2024