Sitting with Job {DWITW 365}

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
— Hebrews 12:1-2

There’s something about the book of Job that takes me back to the days I spent in my college dorm room sitting cross-legged on a borrowed extra long twin bed with a spine-split Bible for company. Job was one of my go-to places when I didn’t want to carry the weight of my own emotional baggage. I would think, “Here is someone who has really lost everything, someone who has really suffered.” There was something comforting, almost freeing, about losing myself in the feelings that came with the empathy; the sorrow, the pain, the anger. So I took the opportunity to bury my own hurts in someone else’s suffering.

Throughout the course of exchanges between Job and his friends, the reason for Job’s suffering is questioned. Is it the result of his own wickedness? Is it evidence of an unjust God? Why is it happening? Where is there hope?

I’ve tried to dress up pain with prideful answers born of my own weak attempts at realizing wisdom. I’ve tried to plaster my own cracking facade with shallow-rooted worth I’d seek in the mirror rather than the heart of God. Time can often change circumstances but questions of the heart can remain the same. Where was my hope?

My perspective was limited and finite, yet I longed for control. I wanted to make things better, to make the suffering stop. Sometimes I would even settle for making circumstances worse just to try to prove I had a say in what was going on. I had lost sight of hope and fixed my eyes on pain instead.

Why did I have to suffer? Why do we suffer still? We may never know fully. Perhaps for me, it’s the only way I’ll stand still long enough to see God as He is. Or maybe it’s in suffering that I let go of the things I’ve allowed to become idols. Regardless of the answer, my hope lies not in knowing the why but in being able to trust the One whose sight far extends my own. In the midst of pain, He is trustworthy still. The limits of my humanity cannot contain Him. Job 26:7-14 says:

“He stretches out the north over the void
and hangs the earth on nothing.
He binds up the waters in his thick clouds,
and the cloud is not split open under them.
He covers the face of the full moon
and spreads over it his cloud.
He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters
at the boundary between light and darkness.
The pillars of heaven tremble
and are astounded at his rebuke.
By his power he stilled the sea;
by his understanding he shattered Rahab.
By his wind the heavens were made fair;
his hand pierced the fleeing serpent.
Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways,
and how small a whisper do we hear of him!
But the thunder of his power who can understand?”

This is the God I have entrusted with my heart -- the One who suspended the very world on nothing, who can shake the heavens and still the seas. And of whom I know only a whisper. How can I even begin to understand His ways or His thoughts.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
— Isaiah 55:8-9

Too often I still try to fill spaces of silence in suffering with my words. I misplace my hope in finding the right ones and the temporary comfort they will provide. In the midst of my feeble self-reliant efforts the Word of Life waits for me. As I learn to be still and be present, He is my reminder that hopeful expectancy can exist in the presence of pain, no matter how great.


Robin Zastrow wants to live in a world where coffee never gets cold and kindness abounds. When she's not discovering the wonders of construction paper and cardboard tubes with her two little ones, you can find her sneaking in another few pages of a book or jotting down bits of writing on scraps of paper.

One of her favorite Scriptures is:
“ Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.” Psalm 33:20-22 ESV