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After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before. Job 42:10

The story of Job is rich with lessons for each of us as we travel this journey called life. Here’s a man who ‘did everything right’ yet lost everything he had for no apparent reason to him. He’d lost his children, all of his wealth and the intimacy of a relationship with his wife. As he sat in emotional and physical agony his so-called friends show up and give him all sorts of answers as to why things happened the way they did.

All of their wisdom really could be boiled down to this: “Job, you messed up. You are a miserable sinner that God is punishing for your pride and arrogance. Why not just confess your sin. Everyone knows that tragedy only come because of our sin.”

They were wrong of course. We have the advantage of reading the entire script for the drama and seeing all that was going on backstage. Job was an innocent man. His trials were really the result of satanic attack. God himself was testified to His innocence and holiness backstage of the drama where only heavenly beings could hear.

Job is rich with lessons for our journey of life. God is in ultimate control of all that goes on in our lives. He allows things to happen. Painful things. Tragic things. Things that bring agony for a time. While He doesn’t explain Himself, we can know from the story of Job that although the agony is horrific, it isn’t always because of our sin and it is temporary. Even if it is sickness it is temporary because as Christ-followers were aren’t home yet. Our home is a place absent of sickness, pain, tears and death.

There’s another lesson we can learn from Job. It’s a lesson about prayer. After all his friends offered up their meaningless wisdom, God appeared to the three of them. Job was vindicated and his friends chastised.

After God was seen for who He was, the Bible tells us that Job prayed for his friends. There is no indication that he was healed of his pain or restored until he prayed for them. Imagine the scene. Job is still sitting in a pile of ashes. The piece of pottery he used to scrap his boils was laying nearby. All those involved were awestruck by the very presence of God. Then, in the midst of Job’s pain he prayed for his friends!

When we are in pain and agony we may hold that pain in because we wrongfully see pain as a sign of weakness. We may ask our friends to pray for us. But Job prayed for his friends even though he, himself had yet to be healed.

As we travel this journey called life there are many setbacks and hurdles along the way. Things that will hurt us to the point where we question if we can continue on. You could be suffering from the consequences of your own sin or poor decisions. You could be bearing the physical and/or emotional bruises of abuse. There could be no known reason for why you are in the place you are.

In the midst of your pain, don’t forget the pain of others. Job’s friends were wrong. They were judgmental, critical and compassionless. We all run across those people during our lives. People we’ve trusted laughed with and loved. Yet when times grew bad they turned on us. Follow the example of Job and pray for others in the midst of your pain.

Sometimes, in order to do this you will need to forgive others for their insensitivity. Sometimes you will need to overlook the fact that they are just plain wrong. Only you and your God know your heart. Never lose sight of the fact that while they can’t see your heart, you can’t see their heart and/or motives either.

After Job prayed, God blessed him. This wasn’t a small blessing. Job had all his wealth and more restored to him. I believe that one of the reasons he was restored so completely is because of his humble willingness to pray for those who mistreated him. This can only be done through the strength of God. Don’t let the pain of your own life cause you to overlook the pain of others.

PRAYER: Father God, I don’t understand why I have to endure some of this pain that you have placed along my path. I am so tired of so-called experts who offer all sorts of advice while overlooking my own pain or understanding my agony. Help me to forgive them and pray for them. Give me words of encouragement I can offer them even though they can’t return the favor. Thank you for being in complete control of all I do and am. Help me to trust you in the darkness. Amen.

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