Resource quotes have been highlighted in blue and are noted at the end of the blog.
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin once told of farmers in the hot desert of northwest Mexico who “grow varieties of corn and beans that are unusually hardy and drought resistant. These varieties survive and flourish in a harsh climate where other plants would wither and die. One of these plants is the white tepary bean. Its seed will sprout and the plant will grow even when very little rain falls. It sends its roots as deep as six feet into the rocky, sandy earth to find the moisture it needs. It can flower and fruit in the 115-degree (Fahrenheit) desert temperatures with only one yearly rainfall. Its foliage remains remarkably green, with little irrigation, even in the heat of mid-July.”
What can we learn from this analogy?
How to endure through adversity...
Elder Wirthlin went on to say that “Perhaps members of the Church could emulate the example of these hardy, sturdy plants. We should send our roots deep into the soil of the gospel. We should grow, flourish, flower, and bear good fruit in abundance despite the evil, temptation, or criticism we might encounter. We should learn to thrive in the heat of adversity” (Conference Report, Apr. 1989, 7; or Ensign, May 1989, 7)
One of the most basic questions any person of faith must wrestle with is why bad things happen to good people. Job, a man whose faith and righteousness helped him endure severe adversity is like the plants described above. His experience invites us to ponder difficult questions about the causes of suffering, the frailty of human existence, and the reasons to trust in God, even when life seems unfair. Studying this book in the Old Testament can give us great strength and direction as we diligently strive to endure to the end because throughout all of his trials, Job retained his integrity and his trust in God even when another suggested that he “curse God, and die” (Job 2:9). Because all of us may feel like Job at one time or another, this book offers a poignant analysis of some of life’s most difficult questions.
The Book of Job
The book of Job deals with the interrelationships of man with man and man with God in problems involving human suffering, human needs, and the Lord's concerns and powers. It demonstrates the inadequacy of the simple thesis that anyone who sins will suffer and anyone who suffers must have sinned.
The book is written almost entirely in poetic language, with a prologue and an epilogue in prose, and is often classified as wisdom literature, which we discovered in our last lesson with the books of Proverbs and Eccesiastes. It is placed in the“poetry” section of the Bible because the story is told in poetic form, which makes it perhaps one of the more difficult Old Testament books to read and understand. The poetry, however, helps the story come across with more feeling.
One of the book’s most unique qualities is that it asks two difficult questions—“Why do righteous people choose righteousness?” and “Why do the righteous suffer?”—but offers no simple answers. Instead, the book of Job invites faithful readers to exercise faith in God, as when Job said of the Lord, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (Job 13:15). The book also urges the faithful to look beyond the trials of this life to the glorious Resurrection, made possible by the Savior, for Job boldly testified, “I know that my redeemer liveth, and … in my flesh shall I see God” (Job 19:25–26).
The book of Job is also distinctive for a passage confirming the reality of the premortal life, in which “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” at the Creation of the earth (Job 38:7).
Modern revelation confirms the existence of the man Job. As recorded in the Doctrine and Covenants, Jesus Christ comforted the Prophet Joseph Smith by comparing his afflictions to those of Job: “Thou art not yet as Job; thy friends do not contend against thee, neither charge thee with transgression, as they did Job” (D&C 121:10).
Like a figure out of Greek tragedy, the biblical Job suffers into truth. The truth costs him his possessions, family, friends, health, everything; yet, Job's wisdom eventually exceeds even the tragic hero's dark insight that the world confronts us with inexplicable pain. For Job learns to hear God's voice, even in the whirlwind.
Nothing is known about the man Job apart from the information contained in the first few verses of the book of Job. These explain only that Job was a righteous rich man from the land of Uz.
Part 1: Job is sorely tested Job 1–2
In Job 1–2. we find Job a just and faithful man who experiences severe trials. He remains faithful to the Lord despite losing his possessions, children, and health. In a prologue that begins the poetic narrative, the Lord and Satan are imagined to discuss Job’s faithfulness and prosperity. Satan suggests that Job is righteous only because he is blessed. The Lord gives Satan permission to afflict Job but not kill him. Job perseveres and remains faithful through the loss of his personal wealth, his children, and finally his own health.
When reading this book it is helpful to remember that the Lord does not really make agreements with Satan. The conversations between the Lord and Satan in the book of Job are presented in a poetic narrative that emphasizes Satan’s role as our adversary. In reality, the Lord has power over Satan and has no need to bargain with him.
Remember too that as long as we are faithful to the Lord, He will never allow Satan to tempt or try us more than we are able to overcome 1 Corinthians 10:13. President James E. Faust affirmed:“The power to resist Satan may be stronger than we realize. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: ‘All beings who have bodies have power over those who have not. The devil has no power over us only as we permit him. The moment we revolt at anything which comes from God, the devil takes power’ [The Words of Joseph Smith, ed. Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook (1980), 60].
“He also stated, ‘Wicked spirits have their bounds, limits, and laws by which they are governed’ [History of the Church, 4:576]. So Satan and his angels are not all-powerful” (“The Forces That Will Save Us,” Ensign, Jan. 2007, 8)
What kind of man was Job?
He was a good man who feared God and shunned evil (Job 1:1).1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave this insight into the meaning of the word perfect: “In Matthew 5:48, the term perfect was translated from the Greek teleios, which means ‘complete.’ … The infinitive form of the verb is teleiono, which means ‘to reach a distant end, to be fully developed, to consummate, or to finish.’ Please note that the word does not imply ‘freedom from error’; it implies ‘achieving a distant objective.’” (“Perfection Pending,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 86).
He was wealthy but not caught up in wealth (Job 1:3, 21)3 His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.
He had integrity (Job 2:3).3 And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.
He strengthened the weak (Job 4:3–4).3 Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands.4 Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees.
He walked in the Lord’s paths and esteemed the Lord’s words (Job 23:10–12).10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.11 My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.
He was compassionate to the widow, the poor, the lame, and the blind (Job 29:12–16).12 Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him.13 The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow’s heart to sing for joy.14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem.15 I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame.16 I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out.
He was concerned for his enemies and forgave them (Job 31:29–30).29 If I rejoiced at the destruction of him that hated me, or lifted up myself when evil found him:30 Neither have I suffered my mouth to sin by wishing a curse to his soul.
What trials did Job experience?
Loss of servants, property, and income (Job 1:13–17).13 ¶ And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house:14 And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them:15 And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.16 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.17 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
Loss of children (Job 1:18–19).18 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house:19 And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
7 ¶ So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.5 My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust; my skin is broken, and become loathsome.16 My face is foul with weeping, and on my eyelids is the shadow of death;
Restless sleep filled with nightmares (Job 7:4, 13–14).4 When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone? and I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day.13 When I say, My bed shall comfort me, my couch shall ease my complaint;14 Then thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions:
Cruel accusations and loss of support from friends and family (Job 2:9; 4:1, 7–8; 11:1–6; 19:13–22).9 ¶ Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.7 Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off?8 Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.1 Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said,2 Should not the multitude of words be answered? and should a man full of talk be justified?3 Should thy lies make men hold their peace? and when thou mockest, shall no man make thee ashamed?4 For thou hast said, My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in thine eyes.5 But oh that God would speak, and open his lips against thee;6 And that he would shew thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth.13 He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me.14 My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me.15 They that dwell in mine house, and my maids, count me for a stranger: I am an alien in their sight.16 I called my servant, and he gave me no answer; I entreated him with my mouth.17 My breath is strange to my wife, though I entreated for the children’s sake of mine own body.18 Yea, young children despised me; I arose, and they spake against me.19 All my inward friends abhorred me: and they whom I loved are turned against me.20 My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth.21 Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me.22 Why do ye persecute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh?How did Eliphaz and Bildad, two of Job’s friends, explain his suffering? Job 4:7–8; 8:6. They thought Job’s suffering was a punishment from God for sins that Job had committed. Its important to remember that trials and difficulties come upon the righteous as well as the wicked. The errors of Job’s friends teach us about helping people who suffer adversity rather than judging.
Confusion about why he was asked to go through these trials (Job 10:15).15 If I be wicked, woe unto me; and if I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head. I am full of confusion; therefore see thou mine affliction;
10 They have gaped upon me with their mouth; they have smitten me upon the cheek reproachfully; they have gathered themselves together against me.11 God hath delivered me to the ungodly, and turned me over into the hands of the wicked.1 But now they that are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock.8 They were children of fools, yea, children of base men: they were viler than the earth.9 And now am I their song, yea, I am their byword.10 They abhor me, they flee far from me, and spare not to spit in my face.While Job’s friends intended to comfort him, their hasty judgments regarding the reasons for his suffering actually added to his misery. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf taught: “It is unworthy of us as Christians to think that those who suffer deserve their suffering. … Our Savior willingly took upon Himself the pain and sickness and suffering of us all—even those of us who appear to deserve our suffering. “In the book of Proverbs we read that ‘a friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.’ Let us love at all times. And let us especially be there for our brothers and sisters during times of adversity” (“You Are My Hands,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 69–70).
The feeling that God had forgotten him or was not listening (Job 19:6–8; 23:3–4; note that the word him in Job 23:3–4 refers to God).6 Know now that God hath overthrown me, and hath compassed me with his net.7 Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard: I cry aloud, but there is no judgment.8 He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, and he hath set darkness in my paths
3 Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat!
4 I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments.
What did Satan claim was the reason for Job’s righteousness? Job 1:9–10. Satan claimed that Job feared or worshipped the Lord only because the Lord had protected and blessed Job.
9 Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?
10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
How did Satan predict Job would react when his wealth and other blessings were taken away? Job 1:11 2:4-5; Satan claimed that Job would curse the Lord.
11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.
4 And Satan answered the Lord, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.
5 But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.
How did Job react when this happened? Job 1:20–22 2:10; Job's loss of material wealth did not cause him to lose his perspective.
20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,
21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.
22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
What can we learn from these reactions? We can choose to have faith in God and endure with his help even in the midst of trials.
Despite his adversity, Job “sinned not, nor charged God foolishly” Job 1:22
22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
How do some people charge God foolishly when sorrow, misfortune, or tragedy strike? They may blame God or question his wisdom or providence, feeling that he does not understand or love them. Some may even question his existence.
Part 2: Job finds strength in the Lord Job 13:13–16; 19:23–27
Here in Job 13:13–16; 19:23–27. Job finds strength in trusting the Lord and in his testimony of the Savior. He testifies of his confidence in the Lord and says, Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him, and He also will be my salvation.
Job’s trust in the Lord was a great source of spiritual strength for him Job 13:13–16
13 Hold your peace, let me alone, that I may speak, and let come on me what will.
14 Wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth, and put my life in mine hand?
15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.
16 He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him.
What does it mean to trust in the Lord? Elder Richard G Scott taught: “This life is an experience in profound trust—trust in Jesus Christ, trust in His teachings, trust in our capacity as led by the Holy Spirit to obey those teachings. … To trust means to obey willingly without knowing the end from the beginning (see Prov. 3:5–7). To produce fruit, your trust in the Lord must be more powerful and enduring than your confidence in your own personal feelings and experience” (“Trust in the Lord,” Ensign, Nov. 1995, 17).
Job, while he did not understand why God permitted his affliction, would not judge the Lord nor lose his faith in Him. God was his salvation, and Job trusted in Him alone. Job saw his afflictions in perspective.
President Spencer W. Kimball said: “If we looked at mortality as the whole of existence, then pain, sorrow, failure, and short life would be calamity. But if we look upon life as an eternal thing stretching far into the premortal past and on into the eternal post-death future, then all happenings may be put in proper perspective.” (Faith Precedes the Miracle, p. 97.)
How can we develop trust in the Lord that will sustain us through trials? Romans 8:28; 2 Nephi 2:2, 11, 24; D&C 58:2–4; 122:5–9 Because the Lord loves us, he has assured us that as we are faithful, all things will be for our good and help us grow. As we love and reverence him we in turn learn to trust him.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
2 For verily I say unto you, blessed is he that keepeth my commandments, whether in life or in death; and he that is faithful in tribulation, the reward of the same is greater in the kingdom of heaven.
3 Ye cannot behold with your natural eyes, for the present time, the design of your God concerning those things which shall come hereafter, and the glory which shall follow after much tribulation.
4 For after much tribulation come the blessings. Wherefore the day cometh that ye shall be crowned with much glory; the hour is not yet, but is nigh at hand.
Job’s friends challenged God’s wisdom, and they saw Job’s suffering as a punishment sent from God. But Job had a greater understanding. He knew that God was there, although his prayers for relief were not answered as he might wish. Should his suffering really have been the result of personal sin, he begged the Lord to cause him to know so that he could repent.
But suffering is not always the result of sin. Suffering has a larger purpose, part of which is educative. President Kimball said:
“Is there not wisdom in his giving us trials that we might rise above them, responsibilities that we might achieve, work to harden our muscles, sorrows to try our souls? Are we not exposed to temptations to test our strength, sickness that we might learn patience, death that we might be immortalized and glorified?
“If all the sick for whom we pray were healed, if all the righteous were protected and the wicked destroyed, the whole program of the Father would be annulled and the basic principle of the gospel, free agency, would be ended. No man would have to live by faith.
“If joy and peace and rewards were instantaneously given the doer of good, there could be no evil—all would do good but not because of the rightness of doing good. There would be no test of strength, no development of character, no growth of powers, no free agency, only satanic controls.
“Should all prayers be immediately answered according to our selfish desires and our limited understanding, then there would be little or no suffering, sorrow, disappointment, or even death, and if these were not, there would also be no joy, success, resurrection, nor eternal life and godhood.” (Faith Precedes the Miracle, p. 97.)
In Job 19, Job described the trials that had befallen him, then testified of the Savior.
He reviewed his experience, how he had cried out but found no justice, how he had lost property, lost his friends and family, including his estranged wife, and suffered the taunts of children and others so that he could barely exist. He appealed to his friends for pity and respite from their exacerbation of what God had brought upon him.
Then came Job's triumph of faith, and as he felt it, he wished it could be recorded indelibly. He testified: "And I, I know my Redeemer lives and afterward upon the dust shall He arise; then after even this my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh shall I see God, whom I, even I, shall see for myself and mine eyes behold, and not another. My inmost feelings conclude it" (Job 19:25-27; translation mine).
The meaning is quite clear. Even though the Hebrew says not "in my flesh" but "from my flesh," it can mean "by means of my flesh." The Book of Mormon expresses the concept thus: "In our bodies we shall see God" (2 Ne. 9:4 and fn. a-b).
Job warned his friends to cease persecuting him and look within themselves for the root of the matter. He advised them to anticipate punishment, for "there is a judgment" coming (Job 19:29). (Latter-day Saint Commentary on the Old Testament Ellis Rasmussen)
How did Job’s testimony of the Savior help him endure his trials? Job 19:25–27. Jobs knowledge of the Savior and Resurrection gave him hope.
25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.
How can a testimony of the Savior give us strength during adversity? Knowing that Jesus Christ has brought about the Resurrection of all mankind helps us as we experience trials. Our testimony of the Savior and the Resurrection can give us hope in the midst of our trials not only when we are confronted with death but also when we experience other challenges.
“The assurance of resurrection gives us the strength and perspective to endure the mortal challenges faced by each of us and by those we love, such things as the physical, mental, or emotional deficiencies we bring with us at birth or acquire during mortal life. Because of the resurrection, we know that these mortal deficiencies are only temporary!” (“Resurrection,” Dalin H Oaks Ensign, May 2000, 15).
Job not only possessed a testimony of the Savior but also desired to write it down, preserve it, and share it with others Job 19:23 recording and preserving our testimonies can help us during future times of trial to remember the comforting and hopeful doctrines we know to be true.
Part 3: Job finds strength in his personal righteousness and integrity Job 27:2–6
Job’s friends continued to challenge Job and he responded to their accusations by expressing his faith in God, thereby showing his humility and integrity.
Job continued expressing his concepts of God, declaring that though deprived of "judgment" (that is, justice) for a time by the Almighty who had "vexed" his soul, he had maintained his integrity. Job knew the wicked and the hypocrite could not hope for blessings. Indeed he questioned whether they would ever delight themselves in, or call upon, God. He promised to teach "by the hand of God" certain truths the friends should have observed. He decried all wickedness, deceit, and hypocrisy and described what will result from such evils. He truly expected for the wicked what his friends had falsely expected for him. (Latter-day Saint Commentary on the Old Testament Ellis Rasmussen)
Job’s integrity was another source of spiritual strength during his afflictions (Job 27:2–6).
2 As God liveth, who hath taken away my judgment; and the Almighty, who hath vexed my soul;
3 All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils;
4 My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit.
5 God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me.
6 My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.
What is integrity? Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin defined integrity as “always doing what is right and good, regardless of the immediate consequences. It means being righteous from the very depth of our soul, not only in our actions but, more important, in our thoughts and in our hearts. Personal integrity implies such trustworthiness and incorruptibility that we are incapable of being false to a trust or covenant” (Conference Report, Apr. 1990, 38; or Ensign, May 1990, 30).
How did personal integrity strengthen Job during his trials?
How can personal integrity help us during times of trial? As we maintain our integrity, we can gain strength from knowing that the course of our lives is pleasing to the Lord.
Part 4: After Job has faithfully endured his trials, the Lord blesses him Job 42:10–17
After Job had faithfully endured his trials, how did the Lord bless him? Job 42:10–15; James 5:11
10 And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.
11 Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold.
12 So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses.
13 He had also seven sons and three daughters.
14 And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Keren-happuch.15 And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren
11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
How does the Lord bless us as we faithfully endure trials? Job 23:10; 3 Nephi 15:9
10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
9 Behold, I am the law, and the light. Look unto me, and endure to the end, and ye shall live; for unto him that endureth to the end will I give eternal life.
Though the Lord blessed Job with “twice as much as he had before,” the spiritual blessings the Lord gives us and gave Job, as we faithfully endure are even greater than the temporal blessings.
Elder Orson F. Whitney said: “No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God … and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven” (quoted in Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle, 98).
The Prophet Joseph Smith said: “I am like a huge, rough stone rolling down from a high mountain; and the only polishing I get is when some corner gets rubbed off by coming in contact with something else, … knocking off a corner here and a corner there. Thus I will become a smooth and polished shaft in the quiver of the Almighty” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith , 304)
The book of Job narrates the afflictions that befell a righteous man and discusses the moral problem such sufferings present. The book of Job does not entirely answer the question as to why Job (or any human) might suffer pain and the loss of his goods. It does make it clear that affliction is not necessarily evidence that one has sinned. The book suggests that affliction, if not for punishment, may be for experience, discipline, and instruction. Job’s assurance of the bodily resurrection and his testimony of the Redeemer teach us how to trust in the Lord during times of trouble rather than ask the question of why and place blame.
Elder Richard G. Scott said: “When you face adversity, you can be led to ask many questions. Some serve a useful purpose; others do not. To ask, Why does this have to happen to me? Why do I have to suffer this now? What have I done to cause this? will lead you into blind alleys. It really does no good to ask questions that reflect opposition to the will of God. Rather ask, What am I to do? What am I to learn from this experience? What am I to change? Whom am I to help? How can I remember my many blessings in times of trial?” (Conference Report, Oct. 1995, 18; or Ensign, Nov. 1995, 17)
Let us think on our trials and tribulations and ask ourselves, are we yet as Job? The book of Job teaches us to ask those right questions during these times and remain steadfast and immovable in our relationship with God and testimony of the Savior. As we do so, following the counsel of Job, our blessings will be such as it was with him, things won't be the same, but they will be made whole. Understanding will come and our greatest gift in our endurance and faithfulness will be that of eternal life.
Old Testament Student Manual
Old Testament Seminary Manual
Latter-day Commentary on the Old Testament Ellis Rasmussen
Studies in Scripture Vol 4 Kent P Jackson
Faith Precedes the Miracle Spencer W Kimball