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In my Bible reading I’ve been in the book of Job. Job loses everything except his wife. His riches are gone, his children are dead, and he is very sick and miserable. So three friends come to comfort him.

They do pretty well at first. They just sit in silence with Job for a long time. But then they decide to start talking, and they aren’t very comforting at all. Job pours out his complaint, letting it be known how sorrowful he is and how he feels his circumstances are undeserved, and his friends put forth arguments about how he’s wrong. They go back and forth for a while, Job defending himself and his friends continuing to tell him he’s wrong.

Suddenly a fourth man speaks up. Apparently he’s been here for a while, just listening. He had been silent thinking he would be listening to some wisdom from his elders, but then can’t contain his anger as he notices everyone is wrong, so he speaks out and tells them so. He then launches into his own explanation of things.

Suddenly God appears in a storm and rebukes everyone except this fourth man, starting with Job. Whether the fourth needed rebuke, whether he left before then, or whether nothing needed to be said to him, I think if God showed up in a huge storm to rebuke everyone I’d probably be happy not to be addressed. Regardless, God points out to Job what he needs to know, then points out to the three friends what they need to know. After all that is said and done, Job and his three friends reconcile and God forgives everyone. God then brings wealth and children back to Job.

There are a lot of things to be learned from the book of Job, but here are a few that stick out to me:

You can say just as much correctly about God as you can incorrectly, sometimes in the same breath. Be careful of how you perceive God and make sure you know Him as He is, not as you think He is. Be careful that you don’t say the truth in the wrong way.

Very bad things can happen to very good people, but that doesn’t mean God doesn’t still care and know what’s happening.

Sometimes the best comfort you can give is to keep your mouth shut and just be there.

You’re allowed to complain, and God will answer. Just be careful how and why you’re complaining, and know that God doesn’t always answer when and how we expect.

God doesn’t always explain why things happen, but He does remind you of who He is and that He’s in control.

God’s purpose is accomplished even in the worst things you’ve ever been through.