We have discussed the life of Job many times in this church but I want to briefly remind us of Job’s story. Job was overall a good man, who loved God, who served God faithfully, and loved and served his wife and family. And then one day God allows the Devil to wreak havoc in this man’s life. In a matter of a day Job loses everything. All his crops are destroyed, his sheep die, he comes down in awful sickness and loses his health, and tragically all of his children are killed in a horrendous storm. When it comes to suffering, we see many examples of those who suffered throughout scripture, but barring Jesus none suffered as much as Job.
Interestingly, Job’s three friends try to help Job. These three friends spend nearly 35 chapters in the book of Job trying to be Job’s friend. When Job begins to suffer, his friends come to him (that’s a good first step), but then they make a great mistake, they assume arrogantly the role of Judge. They look at Job’s life and the circumstances he’s in, and they assume that they can accurately see all the circumstances that led to Job’s pain. Here is Job in the the worst pain of his life, pain that none of us Lord willing will ever come close to experiencing, and here are his three best friends without an ounce of compassion for this man, pretending to play judge over his life and circumstance. If you read the book of Job and listen to Job’s responses to his friends, you hear the voice of a man surrounded by his three best friends and yet utterly alone in his pain. How many of you have ever felt surrounded by friends and yet utterly alone on the inside?
But look at this text with me. What does it say about what we learn from Job?
James 5:11 (ESV) 11 … and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.
The Lord is Compassionate and Merciful. That word compassionate, that particular word is used only one time in the New Testament, and this word has the meaning of all of your inner organs being in turmoil over someone’s pain. When it says that the Lord is compassionate, It has this sense that everything about God stirs in your pain. That He feels your pain. That means that no matter how bad the pain, no matter how deep the stress, no matter how impossible the knot in your life, no matter how insurmountable the obstacle before you, no matter how bitter the situation, God feels your pain and He is merciful in the midst of it. In Christ, and in Christ alone, you are never alone.
This is what the great work of Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection was all about. For while Job suffered greatly, only one person ever suffered more, and it was Christ as He suffered on the cross. For that in that moment, not only was He experiencing the pain and torture of a Roman crucifixion, what to date is possibly the most brutal form of torture humanity has ever created. But in that same moment, the true Judge, who truly gauges all situations and who truly knows what is deserved and undeserved, took all the justice that is due to you and me and poured it all out on one man. Jesus hung on that cross alone as a result of our sin, “My God My God,” he cried, “Why have forsaken me.” And there was no response. In Jesus’ darkest moment, He experienced the pain of Hell, separation from God.
Some of Us Pretend the Story Ends There
Some of us go through broken moments in life, as if the story ended there. We feel all the pain and all the hurt, and we feel all alone. Maybe we’re like Job surrounded by friends, yet still on the inside we feel alone. But Church, the story didn’t end on the cross. Jesus didn’t stay in the tomb. Christ Defeated Death. He rose from the grave. He was reunited to the Father. And He invites you into that relationship, of never being alone. Believing on Christ means that Jesus paid the price of being alone on your behalf so that you would never have to.
No matter how bad it gets, in Christ, you’re never alone.
No matter much you lose, in Christ, you’re never alone.
No matter how much you screw up, in Christ you’re never alone.
No matter how many people tell you that you’re not worth it, in Christ you’re never alone.
Oh church never forget your hope in the midst of your pain. This marks you as peculiar among every other person you’ll ever meet. In Christ you are never alone.
This post is a segment taken from a sermon preached at Park Community Church South Loop on March 18, 2018 titled Three Lessons in the Spiritual Discipline of Patience from James 5:7-12. The link to the sermon is provided at the bottom of the post.