Despite suffering Job keeps the lines of communication open with God and is a model of patient endurance. The other part of this verse ‘the Lord is compassionate and merciful’ comes from Psalm 103, in praise of God’s goodness. A psalm of humble, heartfelt gratitude to God for all His goodness, but above all His mercy and unchanging, unchangeable love. We take comfort in the example of Job and others like him who have lived through suffering and emerged into an experience of God’s mercy.
Quite often we want to use our faith to get rid of suffering. However, it can sometimes seem that God’s plan is for us to exercise a higher level of faith that will carry us through life’s challenges. As caretakers, many of our days overflow with trials that push us into negativity, and we might get caught up in self-pity. These are the times to turn to God, tell Him of our frustrations and not hide how we feel. When we remember that we are human, we can admit our mistakes and talk things through with greater calm and clarity. Being gentle and warm with ourselves, we will be in a better emotional space to be there for the person we love. Persevering let us remain unshakably committed to hearing God’s voice and offer ourselves self-compassion.
Job did not get an immediate explanation of why he lost everything. He did, over time, come to a deeper understanding of God’s greatness. He went from being someone who only knew about God to being someone who heard from Him directly. I believe this is what God can do for us when we are honest and keep seeking Him. The challenge is making time to listen and praise God, believing ‘the Lord is compassionate and merciful.’
Life can be hard at times and we know what it feels like to feel hope slipping away. Can we believe our hope lies in the faithfulness of God? “Hold fast to the hope that lies before us.” (Hebrews 6:18) We can be confident that He will see us through every trial as we trust in Him. Especially in moments when feeling impossible to do one more thing, we are not abandoned. God with us is one of the central messages of the Bible. We can rest in the assurance that we are not alone when stress is knocking at our door.
For myself, I recognize stress often comes from my desire to do everything “I” want to do or think I am supposed to do and do it all perfectly – a tough rule to live up to! This usually leads to overplanning when I need to be resting and then I can become resentful and anxious. Has anyone found when getting so lost in the role of caretaker, you stop meeting your own needs? Can we give mercy to ourselves, knowing as we do, God’s strength will help us endure?