(taken from Our Daily Bread)
An Overview of Job
We know that God is loving and all-powerful. We know He has the power to heal us and take away our suffering, and we know He loves us. Still, we suffer, and we wonder why God doesn’t take us out of our suffering. We wonder why He leaves us in our pain. Doesn’t He care? Has He forgotten us? Has He turned His back on us?
These are the questions that throb at the heart of the book of Job. Job is the first of five poetical books in the Old Testament. (It is followed by Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon.) These five books of ancient Hebrew poetry are often called the Wisdom Books, because they have condensed the deep wisdom of God into one powerful and concise section of God’s Word. In these five books, the great riddles of life are asked and answered. I also like to think of these five books as the Music Books, because they contain the rich, soul-swelling music of Scripture. These books reflect the sorrow and the joy of our lives and our relationship with God. In these books, you’ll find every emotion of the human experience. The feelings expressed in the book of Job are primarily those of affliction, distress, grief, misery, and doubt. Here is the cry of man’s wounded spirit, the deep groaning of a man who desperately struggles to trust in God, even though everything in his life is crumbling.
Human beings were made to know God and trust in Him. So when our suffering reaches such a white-hot intensity that life seems senseless and chaotic, then our only hope is to cling to God in faith. Open the book of Job whenever you find yourself going through pain and trials, whenever you cry out, “Why, Lord?” In those pages, you’ll find a man who has experienced agony and loss beyond our ability to comprehend. Job questions God, seeks answers from God, and even becomes angry with God— yet he remains faithful. In the end, we see that Job emerges from his time of trial with his faith-relationship with God intact. One thing is certain: This book was given by the Holy Spirit to encourage, comfort, and instruct us.
This is an excerpt from the book Let God Be God by Ray Stedman.