According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates in the United States increased 33 percent between 1999 and 2017. Reported one news outlet: “American suicides are now at their highest point in 50 years. It’s now the second-leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 35.”
When we face difficulties in life, we have a choice with how to respond. As believers, we should treasure the Lord and His sovereign love for us. Rather amazingly, that’s what Job did, even in the midst of tremendous suffering. With God’s permission, Satan wiped out his wealth, health, and children. Job responded by submitting to God’s sovereignty (1:20–22; 2:9–10). But the suffering wasn’t over. Job was then “comforted” by three friends who assumed he’d sinned and deserved these events as punishment.
In today’s chapter, Job was replying to Eliphaz, one of the friends. He didn’t try to make light of his suffering—it was indeed heavy and bitter (23:2). But he stood fast in his faith. He was confident of God’s justice and wanted to make his case before Him (vv. 3–7). Though he felt abandoned by God, he continued to trust in His knowledge and justice. He was sure that he would pass this test with flying colors and his relationship with God would be restored (vv. 8–12). Therefore, he could honestly proclaim, “I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread” (v. 12; compare Eliphaz’s advice in Job 22:21–22).
Wisdom, Scripture, and our relationship with God are treasures, but it doesn’t mean that we will live rich, comfortable, or trouble-free lives. In fact, it is when trouble comes—as it surely will in this fallen world—that we show most clearly what we truly treasure.
Ask God to help you cling to His Word in times of trouble. When Trouble Comes by Philip Graham Ryken and Between Pain and Grace: A Biblical Theology of Suffering by Moody professors Gerald W. Peterman and Andrew J. Schmutzer show how God can bring hope in the midst of despair. You can get both books online or in a Christian bookstore.
The staff of Residence Life—Bruce Norquist, David Chizum, Sarah Youssef, and Samuel Roller—are a vital part of our students’ life on campus. Today remember them in prayer as they serve our students.