by Kevin V. Rutherford


He was well respected in the community for his wisdom and for his success.  He was a righteous man and faithful in his service to Jehovah.  Beyond that he was well blessed with a large family and an abundance of wealth.  In his day, and in his region he was the wealthiest man around.  For many years his life went very well for him, but one day all of that changed.

A messenger came to him with terrible news.  An enemy had raided his servants, killing most of them and stealing his cattle.  While that messenger was speaking another servant came rushing in to tell him his sheep and some of his servants had been killed in a fire.  Before that servant was finished another came in to tell him a raid had been made upon the servants that were tending the camels.  All but one of the servants was killed and all of the camels were stolen. What a disastrous day for this man?  He had just gone from being the richest man in his region to being a poor man.  In addition many of his servants had just been killed.  When tragic circumstances occur people need time to think about what has happened.  Initial shock sometimes makes it difficult for the mind to assimilate terrible news.  This poor man did not have time to soak in what had just been said before more terrible news arrived.

A fourth messenger came with the worst news of all.  His children had been inside house that had collapsed.  All of them were killed.  The pain of loosing a child is beyond description.  The sense of loss and grief is beyond the comprehension of all but those who have experienced such tragedy.  This man did not loose one, but all of his children.

What should this man do?  Should he commit suicide?  Should he lash out in a rage?  Should he curse God and die?  His wife advised him to do just that. He refused.  His immediate reaction to the terrible news was to worship God.

As time went on this poor man became afflicted with a terrible disease that caused boils to rise all over his body.  He sat in pain and misery while using broken pieces of pottery to scrape the boils open and relieve the pressure.  At night he would be so miserable he would long for the day.  During the day he would be so miserable he would long for some rest in the night.  He wished he had not been born and he became very confused.  He did not understand why he was suffering so much, and neither did his friends.  They accused of him of having committed some terrible sin that lead to all of his suffering.  Though confused and in pain he never cursed God.

After a period of emotional and physical agony God took away his disease, restored his wealth, and blessed him with more children.  The man of which we speak is Job.  His patience and faith are an example to us all (James 5:11, Job 1-42).  We do not have to understand all of the reasons why we suffer to remain faithful to God while suffering in the end, if we remain faithful we too shall be relieved from our pain (Revelation 21:4).