Be As Patient As Job

Ed asked me a question that has no definite answer. We were talking about the increase in Covid 19 cases across Canada yesterday. I said, “With this second wave of Covid, we will need the patience of Job in the days ahead.”

Ed countered, “How long did Job suffer?” He was skeptical when I answered that the Bible does not specify how long Job suffered. Job refers to his suffering in terms of days and months. No place does he mention years of suffering. Job says in 7:3, “I have been allotted months of futility, and nights of misery have been assigned to me.”

When we suffer, it can feel like a year, even if it’s only several days or a month. Job heard of his grown family’s death and the loss of his wealth on the same day, but his suffering in sickness dragged on for days. Ed and I agreed that it is easy to blame others, maybe even God, when things go wrong. Illness and loss can mature us if we allow God to bless us when He is ready to do so. Sometimes we need to wait and endure for as long as it takes.

Patience means more than waiting but behaving without frustration and making the best of a challenging situation. Everyone is called to wait for a vaccine or a cure for the Covid 19 virus. For those tired of staying six feet apart, wearing a mask and isolating from others, think of the insect, the cicada. The female lays her eggs in slits in twigs and branches. The eggs hatch into nymphs and drop to the ground and burrow into the dirt for 13 to 17 years. They subsist there on the juice of plant roots. After many years they burrow out of the soil climb a tree shed their skin, and emerge as an adult.  The cicada knows about being patient for as long as it takes.

The Book of James speaks of Job’s perseverance in his affliction, and that Lord brought it to an end. After Job’s suffering, God commended Job, restored Job, and gave him a long full life. Job was tested, but instead of blaming God, Job endured his loss of family and the loss of his wealth and persisted in his painful suffering until God blessed him.

When we are waiting on God, we are allowing Him to mature our souls. We tend to see restrictions, waiting for new cases of Covid to flatten, like having a gun without a trigger. Just because the Covid 19 virus cases are increasing presently, that doesn’t mean they always will.

Is it our time to pray for God to bless the efforts to develop a vaccine to save lives and subdue the virus?  Presently it’s our waiting time to endure for as long as it takes. Romans 12:12 instructs us to, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, and constant in prayer.”

James teaches us to remember that the Lord is full of compassion and mercy. He says, “Brothers, take the prophets as an example in the face of suffering. As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You too, be patient and stand firm without grumbling.” (James 5:7-11).

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