5/17/19 “Clinging on To Hope When at the End of the Rope” (Daily Bible Reading: Job 18-21)

“For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God” (Job 19:25-26).

As Job copes with the loss of his possessions, his children, his health and the futile efforts of his 3 friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar to explain why all these horrific events have happened to Job, he reaches a very low point. He accuses God of bringing all these things upon him: “Know then that God has wronged me and has surrounded me with His net. If I cry out concerning wrong, I am not heard. If I cry aloud, there is no justice. He has fenced up my way, so that I cannot pass; and He has set darkness in my paths. He has stripped me of my glory and taken the crown from my head. He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone; my hope He has uprooted like a tree. He has also kindled His wrath against me, and He counts me as one of His enemies” (Job 19:6-11).

Job could not have been more wrong! God had not done this to him. God did not count Job as “one of His enemies” (Job 19:11). God looked upon Job as “His servant” and “and that there was “none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man” (Job 1:8; 2:3). These terrible tragedies which Job had experienced were a result of Satan’s efforts to get Job to turn from following after God (Job 1:9-11; 2:4-5). As the above verses suggest, Satan was getting close to succeeding in getting Job to turn from God. In the midst of his great pain, Job was forgetting that God was on his side and was nearing the breaking point. He was getting dangerously close to fulfilling Satan’s wish to get Job to curse God to His face (Job 1:11; 2:5). Job was at the end of his rope!

Job is extremely confused. I feel great sympathy for Job as I read these verses. The pain he felt must have seemed unbearable to him. His friends who had come to mourn with him and comfort him (Job 2:11) were now hurling accusations against him. God was not giving him any answers. He must have felt all alone! How could Job continue to go on?

Throughout the book of Job, we see Job struggling to find reasons to continue to hope. He says, “What strength do I have, that I should hope? And what is my end, that I should prolong my life?” (Job 6:11). Later he adds, “"Oh, that You would hide me in the grave, that You would conceal me until Your wrath is past, that You would appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait, till my change comes” (Job 14:13-14). At times, Job feels there is simply no more hope: “If I wait for the grave as my house, if I make my bed in the darkness, if I say to corruption, 'You are my father,' and to the worm, 'You are my mother and my sister,' where then is my hope? As for my hope, who can see it?” (Job 17:13-15).

It is interesting that God doesn’t intervene and speak to Job as he struggles with these feelings of hopelessness. It must have been hard for God to hear his faithful servant Job accuse Him of becoming Job’s enemy! God bears with Job and all of his mixed emotions. Yet, as Job goes through his trial, he gains hope: “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God” (Job 19:25-26).

There are some lessons that can only be learned by going through adversity. Today, I rejoice that God bears with me when I struggle with mixed feelings in the midst of trials. It is through these trials I can grow closer to Him! When I feel I am at the end of my rope, it is then I must cling to my hope!

“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4).