Being told, “You have the patience of Job,” is to be received for the compliment it is designed to be.
But when the Book of Job is discussed, “patience” is not one of the top three points discussed. The first thing noted is usually Job’s suffering, the second, the conversations between God and Satan, and third, his wife telling him to “curse God and die.”
In fact, I would hazard a guess that no one really thinks of Job as being patient at all.
The many hurting believers who turn to The Book of Job do so to find rhyme and reason for their suffering. They have many questions as to why God would allow such pain and sadness to enter their life.
Job’s three friends tried to argue that Job’s sin had set God against him; a prognosis that neither Job nor God accepted.
The reader, like watching a court case, listens to Job as he protests his innocence before God and man. What is clear, is that while batting off the accusations of his friends, Job wants to know from God the reason for his suffering.
He does not get the response that he expects. Instead, God, by asking a series of questions that Job couldn’t answer, lets Job know that he has no idea of life from God’s perspective.
At the heart of the Book of Job is God’s love for Job. Amidst the miseries of a world plagued by the effects of sin, God never abandoned him. Though the devil did his worst, he did not win!
James honours Job’s perseverance, and shows that God’s providence came from a divine heart full of compassion:
“…You have heard about Job’s patience, and you know the Lord’s purpose for him in the end. You know the Lord is full of mercy and is kind” (James 5:11).