There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job…” So begins the story of a man who knew more about suffering and loss than most people will ever understand. This record, the oldest book in the Bible, articulates the struggle, stress, and strain that godly people endure living in a fallen world. “…and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil” (Job 1:1). Yes, good people deal with evil.

In one day, Job lost all of his flocks, herds, and servants. He tragically lost seven sons and three daughters. He lost his health. If this were not bad enough, he then lost the encouragement of his wife and the confidence of his friends.

But, what was the worst thing that Job lost?

Job lost hope.

At his lowest moment Job said, “For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant. But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?” (Job 14:7-10).

You can lose things and get more. You can lose family but know that you will see them again. You can lose health and regain it. You can lose relationships and have them restored. The one thing that sustains a man through the hardships of life is hope. “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?” (Proverbs 18:14). To lose hope is to lose heart. To lose hope means that you have lost sight of the goodness of God and of the future.

We are living in days of tremendous loss. Most of us have lost loved ones. Many have lost their health. Some have lost their business and financial security. All of us have suffered some sense of loss with the ever changing circumstances in our world. There is one thing that must not be lost – hope!

The increase of depression and rise of suicide rates, the anger in the streets and on social media, a sense of angst among everyday citizens are all indicators that hope is in short supply. This is not an exhaustive treatment on the subject of why “bad things happen to good people.” (You may want to watch a series of Bible messages from the book of Job on our Youtube channel.) I simply want to point out a few observations from Job’s experience that will help us all to keep hope in a world filled with hopelessness…

  1. Remember that hope is a Person. Hope is not emotional; it is volitional. True hope is connected to faith. As we trust God and believe His promises we can live with hope: He is in control and the future is in His hands. All of the discussion and debate in the opening chapters of Job did nothing to heal his hurting heart. It was only as he had a fresh personal encounter with the living God that hope came into view. Hope is not some thing, it is Someone. His name is Jesus Christ.
  2. Go back to what you know for sure. The book of Job is full of questions – questions that can only fully be answered by the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet when God began to speak to Job He simply took him back to the basics: where he came from, why he was on earth, what really mattered, and most importantly, who God is! When there are many things you are unsure of always go back to what you know for sure. Only the unchanging God can take question marks and straighten them out to become exclamation points. Hope must be rooted in truth.
  3. Guard your ears and your mouth. Three of Job’s friends and his own wife became mouthpieces for hopelessness. As long as Job listened to them the darkness just grew greater. It was only when a spiritual young man by the name of Elihu started to speak that Job’s heart began to be pointed back to the Lord. Are you struggling with hope? Be careful who you listen to. Well intentioned people are not always right. And guard your own words! Discouraged people often overstate their problems and can lead others away from the Lord instead of to Him. Listen to hopeful people and learn by God’s grace to become one.
  4. Pray for others. At the end of the book we find a most interesting verse, “And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends…” (Job 42:10). Prayer is always the turning point! One of the greatest ways to find hope is to begin praying for others who are in need.

Hope was the worst thing Job lost and it is one of the greatest things a man ever finds. When it seems all is changing we must return to the things that last: “And now abideth faith, hope, charity…” (1 Corinthians 13:13). It is time that all of God’s children rediscover the God of hope. Determine to be a hopeful believer and share that hope with someone else today. 

(Watch a Bible message on the subject of “HOPE” here.)

Enjoying the Journey

Enjoying the Journey exists to evangelize the lost with the gospel of Jesus Christ, encourage pastors and local churches, and equip believers to walk with God and serve Him each day. Through audio, video, and print resources we are seeking to preach the gospel, teach the Word of God, and reach this generation for Christ.

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