“After Job had prayed for his companions, Jehovah removed Job’s tribulation and restored his prosperity.”
Job had to forgive those who had misjudged him before he could receive God’s blessing.
God Himself had been quick to forgive Job for some of the things he had said in error (Job 42:6).
God’s willingness to forgive Job promptly gives testament to how He constantly searches out the good in people instead of concentrating on our negative traits.
“For the eyes of Jehovah are roving about through all the earth to show his strength in behalf of those whose heart is complete toward him,” (2 Chron. 16:9).
When we make a genuine effort to forgive, forget and have a positive attitude, we can then trust God will treat us with that same compassion (Matt. 6:12; Col. 3:13).
“But take care that rage does not lead you into spitefulness […] Beware that you do not turn to wrongdoing, choosing this instead of affliction.”
~Job 36:18, 21
Job’s young wise friend Elihu had a profound understanding of human nature.
Instead of questioning Job’s loyalty toward God, he analyzed the resentment Job seemed to be harboring against their Creator.
In his confusion and pain, Job had blindly gone along with his critics’ assumption that his suffering originated in God (Job 34:5).
This led him to adopt a defensive attitude instead of a humble one (Eccl. 7:7).
Elihu saw through this and patiently corrected Job, admonishing him of the dangers of such an attitude.
The Supreme Judge “never violates his justice and abundant righteousness,” (Job 37:23).
When facing trials in which it is difficult to distinguish right from wrong, it is important ‘not to become wise in my own eyes,’ (Prov. 3:7).
A human’s line of reasoning cannot be above God’s (Job 36:26).
Therefore, it would be completely illogical to lose faith in Him or to lose patience with his congregation.
Such an attitude might lead me to indifferently commit sins which I might then try to justify.
While it may not always be easy to explain my own suffering, Jehovah promises to ‘rescue me during my affliction, […] to draw me away from the brink of distress to a broad space, free of restriction’ (Job 36:15, 16).
Only with God’s blessing could someone ever find such a place, free of all suffering.
“Therefore, people should fear him. For he does not favor any who think that they are wise,” (Job 37:24).
“Did not the One who made me in the womb also make them?
Was it not the same One who formed us before our birth?”
Job did not consider himself to be above anyone.
Even at the height of his financial success, prior to his tragic losses, he esteemed his servants and the poor, treating them with dignity and generosity (Job 31:13,14,16-22).
His clean conscience kept him from ever feeling shame when praying to God during his trials.
It is thus important that we imitate his attitude toward those of lesser economic privilege.
For example, when carrying out our Christian commission to share the Good News, do we hold back from speaking with the homeless? (1 Thess. 2:4).
When we knock at the door of a beautiful mansion, do we refrain from sharing our message with the gardener or maid?
We do good in God’s eyes when we ‘do not withhold good from those to whom we should give it, if it is within our power to help,’ (Prov. 3:27).
“Look! These are just the fringes of his ways; Only a faint whisper has been heard of him!”
Jehovah God promises eternal life to those actively learning about Him and his son (John 17:3).
When you love someone, you enjoy getting to know them even years after the relationship has been in effect.
Therefore, we can trust that to live forever will be a source of purpose, joy and satisfaction.
In a universe in which we are so young compared to our surroundings, how could we ever tire of learning about our Creator?
He has filled creation with such detail and balance as to keep us busy for time indefinite.
Let us take the time to get to know Him and his son, the “Master Worker,” through the beauty of nature (Prov. 8:30).
Doing this will remind us of our place in time and the universe, strengthening our faith so we can endure, as in Job’s case.
Meditating on God's creation is both a humbling and faith-strengthening experience.
“My adversary pierces me with his eyes.”
In his struggle to keep faithful, Job erroneously reasoned that Jehovah was the one testing his faith, and that God had made him a living target (Job 16:12).
The Bible clearly states, however, that “the eyes of Jehovah are roving about through all the earth to show his strength in behalf of those whose heart is complete toward him,” (2 Chron. 16:9).
So if we ever feel like God is ‘piercing us with His eyes’ because of a bitter situation we are living through, let us remember that God actually looks at us through the eyes of love (Rom. 5:8).
Amidst all his anguish, Job continued to put all his faith in his heavenly Father:
Even now, my witness is in the heavens; The one who can testify for me is in the heights, (Job 16:19).
Whatever trial we may be undergoing, let us face it with the confidence that ‘God is not unrighteous so as to forget our work and the love we show for his name,’ (Heb. 6:10; Gal. 6:9).
“[…] You keep counting my every step; You watch only for my sin.”
When Job suffered depression, he thought God would focus on his past mistakes, like humans erroneously do.
While it is true that God does not deceive Himself and ignore our sins entirely, he does not dwell on the past when we are willing to repent (Ps. 130:3; 139:3).
Therefore, we should not assume Jehovah is drawing away from us because of mistakes we have asked him to forgive (Jas. 4:8).
Sometimes people close to us make us feel unwanted, useless and that we are in their way.
They might take advantage of our affection and take out their frustration on us.
People who are depressed are more likely to be victims of this, as they are more vulnerable and less likely to defend themselves.
Job apparently thought Jehovah would victimize him in this way.
He accused Jehovah of holding on to his transgressions, as if He had ‘sealed them up in a bag’ or ‘with glue,’ (Job 14:17).
How wonderful it is to understand that God is not really like that, but his kindness surpasses that we could expect of any human (Ps. 103:8,14; Isa. 55:6-9).
In effect, Jehovah focuses on us to find what is good, appreciating what we have to offer (2 Cor. 8:12).
“I reject this life of mine. It is all the same.”
Discouragement is one one of Satan’s chief, most effective tactics.
If we do not believe our service to God makes any difference, we are in danger of making self-centered choices instead of responsible ones.
While the loss of Job’s material possessions, his health and his family did not shake him to the point that he incurred sin, it did make him question his relevance.
“If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint, I will change my expression and be cheerful,’ I would still be afraid because of all my pains, and I know you would not find me innocent. I would be found guilty. So why should I struggle in vain?” (Job 9:27-29).
Job’s faith was starting to struggle, and if he kept on that course, his endurance would have suffered the consequences.
Heightening his challenge was his insomnia, which was so bad in itself that he preferred the peace of death over his unrelenting misery (Job 7:3,4,14).
In his defense, Job ignored the origin of his trials and erroneously attributed them to God (Job 7:17,18).
But because Jehovah knows just how much pain one individual can really bear, He eventually stepped in to adjust Job’s point of view (Jas. 5:11).
How wonderful it is to understand God’s word and know that ‘He is faithful and will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear’ (1 Cor. 10:13).
Through a clear understanding of Job’s experience, we can find comfort and hope and even endure the seemingly worst of trials, including deep depression (Rom. 15:4).
We can appreciate how relevant we really are to God and resist Satan’s tactic to make us think otherwise (Prov. 27:11).
“Let the day perish on which I was born, […]
Let that day be darkness.”
After losing his life’s work, his livelihood, his family and his health, Job had more than plenty reasons to be depressed (Job 1:13-19; 2:7,9).
His false friend, Eliphaz, wrongfully attributed Job’s depression to a lack of faith.
“Does your reverence for God not give you confidence?” he asked accusingly (Job 4:6).
But Job’s depression did not stem from an unfulfilled spiritual need (Job 2:3,6,9,10).
His trials were beyond what any man can emotionally bear while still holding on to a certain sense of sanity.
This is why he sat mourning on ashes, unrecognizable (Job 2:8,12).
It is normal for serious problems to affect our emotional health and attitude, whatever their nature may be.
When a friend confides in us that they are depressed, it is important not to make it an issue of faith, because we may end up sounding like Eliphaz giving wrong counsel to Job.
If we are not careful with our choice of words and assumptions, we may make a bad situation much, much worse.
It is important, therefore, to imitate Jehovah’s kindness and really take the time to listen and observe before applying any type of counsel to those who are brokenhearted (Ps.34:18; Jas.1:19).