Does the Bible still speak to today's problems? Does this ancient book relate to our world? If you've felt heart breaking pain, you'll relate to the book of Job:
“Oh, that my words were recorded, that they were written on a scroll, that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead, or engraved in rock forever! I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” Job 19:23–27 (NIV)
If everything good in your life were suddenly taken away, would you remain faithful to God? That question lies at the heart of the book of Job. Job was a righteous man—someone so above reproach that God held him up to Satan as a model of servitude. Satan was unimpressed. Of course he’s faithful to you, he countered. He has wealth, family, and excellent health. Take away those things and let’s see how faithful he is. God agreed to Satan’s challenge. He allowed the devil to bring tragedy and suffering into Job’s life. First came messengers with news that all of Job’s flocks—the primary source of his wealth—had been stolen or killed. Next came news that all of Job’s children had been killed in a freak storm. And then came the boils—painful skin infections that covered Job from head to foot. Job was in agony, emotionally and physically. Yet he stayed faithful, much to the disgust of his spouse. “His wife said to him, ‘Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.’ “But Job replied, ‘You talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?’ So in all this, Job said nothing wrong” (Job 2:9–10). Job wrestled mightily with his situation, trying to square his suffering with what he knew about God. He debated friends who blamed him for his misery. He held on to his relationship with the Lord—at times by his fingernails, but he held on just the same. And when Satan’s period of testing was over, God restored Job’s health and wealth and blessed him with a new family. Job walked the path through the valley of darkness that was laid out before him and emerged with God’s blessing on the other side. The book that bears his name is intended for anyone who desires to do the same in their season of suffering. -- I served as editor for THE BIBLE: WHY IT MATTERS TODAY which is published by Time Inc Books. This blog post was adapted from that title. This special edition magazine is published in the US and available wherever magazines are sold.