There are times in our lives that are just difficult. We go through seasons of sorrow when everything seems to go against us and troubles come at every turn. Have you ever felt like that? I have. Job has too. I was reading in Job this morning because of a comment someone made on a friends facebook post. My friend has recently had a miscarriage after going to great lengths to get pregnant. It was heartbreaking for her and of course everyone around her. We were all praying God would bless her with this child on this earth. She is a believer so she will see the child in heaven someday but that does not undo the pain of loss right now. As my friend was talking about her sorrow on facebook, someone commented that they would pray that God would restore to her all that was lost just as he did for Job. That got me thinking. So, I went to some commentaries on the last chapter of Job. In case you don’t know Job’s story, he had a lot of wealth and children and he lost it all, but then it was restored to him double what he lost. So, if he originally had 200 oxen, he then was restored 400 oxen. The exception to that was children. He lost his 7 children but God restored him just 7 children. Why is that? I have heard and I believe it is because those original children were in heaven and he would see them again one day. What I find interesting is what Job had to do to have everything he lost restored.
Job has three friends who were giving him terrible advice all through his trial of loosing everything. They were saying he must have sinned, or to curse God and die. Lots of really helpful stuff. So, at the end after Job refuses to listen to these friends and instead talks with God about it all, God tells the friends he is tired of listening to their horrible advice. He says they must go and ask Job to pray for them and then God will not punish them. So, they did, then we see what happened.
“After Job had interceded for his friends, God restored his fortune—and then doubled it!” Job 42:10
I found it very interesting that God asked Job to pray for his friends before He restored all Job had lost. At this point Job is not in a good place. He has lost everything and even is in poor health. I would imagine the last thing he wanted to do was pray for these so called friends of his who were saying awful stuff to him while he was in the midst of loosing everything. If you have been through a difficult time, have you ever had people around you say insensitive and horrible stuff to you during it? Most of the time they intend to be helpful, but it comes across as hurtful. It can really pierce your hurting heart. I have been in that place. And at that time I wanted to get as far away from that person as possible, I did not want to pray for them. But that is what God requires of Job.
I have found that when I am in a low place the best thing I can do to feel better is to help those around me who need something. That gets my mind off myself and my troubles and puts it on the things that really matter. I think this is one thing that God was trying to accomplish with Job. I’m sure Job just wanted to feel sorry for himself at this point, but God asking him to pray for his friends got him in a better mindset. It also helped him to forgive them for the terrible things they had said to him. You cannot pray for someone genuinely when you are holding a grudge against them. After Job prayed for his friends God restored everything he had lost.
Have you lost something dear to you? Is there someone who said or did something unkind to you in the midst of loss that you cannot forgive? Is there someone who is in need around you that you can help to get your mind off yourself? I am not saying that if we do these things God will always restore everything we have lost, but what will be restored is the relationships that have been severed and our emotional well being. And then we will be in a better place to accept the blessings God does bestow on us with a restored heart.