By: Megan Smith
Go ahead and read Job with me! For this devotion, you can just focus on chapters 1-3 and 39-42. Just to help you get an idea of his story!
Job was a God-fearing servant of the Lord. One day, Satan noticed these honorable characteristics of Job, and approached God himself, saying the only reason Job remains blameless, full of integrity, and God-fearing is because he is wealthy and the Lord has always provided for him. Satan says to God himself, “You have made him prosper in everything he does” (v. 10b).
If you read all of Job for yourself, you’ll later read four messages, all of which bring unexpected seasonal change into Job’s life. Remember that Job’s wealth and lifestyle is fully dependent on his livestock and not only are his servants dead, but his own children are dead too.
Later, a few Job’s friends try to convince him that he must have committed an awful crime to receive such a horrible suffering—to be forced to endure such a dry, downcast season in life. Others urge Job to admit to whatever sin he’s committed so his suffering will end—so the season of pain and hurt will be over. One friend, Elihu, suggests that God is molding Job through his season of suffering—to which Job says nothing. I would venture to say that Job had a difficult time believing that any sort of good could emerge from his sad situation. He begins to question the justice and goodness of God and become angry at his circumstances.
When we experience unwanted change, we have a few options. First, we could focus on the circumstances of our season itself. We could focus on they way our season makes us feel—probably negatively. Or, we could focus on the purpose of the season.
Each of the changes we witness in creation has a purpose—even if that’s not the first thing we think about. Trees don’t ask to lose their leaves once a year and spend one-quarter of the year dead. In cold, the plant tissue in the leaves die, and if the tree wants to keep itself alive, it has to let go of its leaves and let them fall to the ground where they are decomposed into nutrients that give new life to the surrounding ground and the roots of the very tree that let them go. Every change has a purpose.
In the same way, each of the changes and seasons in our own lives has purpose—even if that’s not the first thing we think about. Job saw no purpose to his trials and tribulations, but if the purpose were revealed right from the start, do you think he would have grown as much in his faith and as a Christian?
Ultimately, Job recognizes God’s sovereignty, goodness, and power, and is humbled by God’s mercy. His belongings, family, and wealth, are restored and doubled—the season is over. Although at times a particular season of our lives may seem more hurtful than beneficial or more sorrowful that joyful, each is necessary. God uses changes in our environment to change us.
Unwanted change requires us to depend on our community - whether it is through prayer, financial support, or even food. Even though Job’s friends may not have been offering the best advice, the came and sat with him. They require us to depend on God. Lastly, they remind us of God’s righteousness, love, and omnipotence.
Earlier this month, I was driving across the state and I was looking in awe at the hundreds of dead trees on the mountains surrounding me. No matter how harsh the winter is, they always come back in the spring, rejuvenated and ready to bear the leaves, fruit, or beauty that they were designed to bear. Over the next 365 days, their leaves, fruit, and beauty may change, and they will die again. But, at the start of spring, they will return with the same vigor and strength that they did the year before and the year before that.
It is my hope that no matter what unexpected and uncontrollable seasons take place in our lives, we overcome their challenges with the dignity of Job and adapt to their necessary changes with the strength of trees. Every season has a purpose.
Discussion Questions: What growth have you experienced because of the seasons in your life? How can you encourage others struggling through difficult seasons in their life?
See more devotions from Megan and our other Young Adult writers, or find our how you can become a writer yourself at our By Young Adults for Young Adults devotion page.