Highlights for the Book of Job
Look at this snippet from the Church website:
7 Brushstrokes to a Happier Life
Brushstroke 5: HAVE DEEP IN-PERSON CONVERSATIONS.
“Using texting and social media to talk with your friends and family can be awesome. But having in-person conversations does something for your mind and spirit that electronic communication can’t. Be sure you interact with your family and friends. Take time to listen and talk with those around you.” (For the Strength of Youth 2021)
I wholeheartedly agree. True and steady friends are a priceless treasure, which makes my heart ache for Job even more.
Job’s Story in 8 Short Sentences
Notice each misfortune is worst than the last until it crescendos to number six:
crescendos: increase of intensity (of depths of suffering).
- Job is a dedicated, faithful, righteous man of great fortune
- Job loses ALL of his crops.
- Job loses ALL of his herds.
- Job loses ALL of his 10 children.
- Job loses his health and endures unrelentless, unspeakable pain.
- His friends whom his soul relies on, deeply betray him. He is truly alone.
- Job works through all the internal turmoil and comes out on top as a dedicated, faithful man of the Lord.
- Job regains all that he lost plus a lot more.
You might think number six is not the worst one – but have you ever been through something tremendously awful and had a great friend (who deeply understood you) put their arm around you? Or how about the opposite, have you ever been left to suffer it alone?
Christ suffered alone in Gethsemane even though he pleaded for the company of his friends. In the climax of His atonement and suffering, it was the company of friends He hoped for and didn’t get.
The Core Story
The book of Job is unusual because it is predominantly about:
- Being greatly esteemed by God and NOT being “blessed.”
- the value of true friends who stand by you
The book of Job is written like an epic narrative which leads to the climax of his most challenging trial (number six from above: Job’s friends betray him and throw him under the bus).
That might sound callous or mistaken because he lost his children. That was my reasoning at first. However, from a spiritual point of view, death is an expected part of life and only a temporary separation. It’s also a door to the next, better world. Job will get his children back. While it is a huge grief, it has a happy ending.
Betrayal by someone you thought was a true friend can be crushing – and that same level of rapport and connection may never recover. Especially if those friends have low levels of remorse or recognition.
That difficult circumstance that friends could have sweetened, but didn’t – is a grievous loss and never returns.
Listen to what Jesus Christ says about this.
In the literal depths of despair (a dark, damp jail cell), Christ tells Joseph Smith, “thou are not yet as Job.”
10 Thou art not yet as Job; thy friends do not contend against thee, neither charge thee with transgression, as they did Job. (DC 121)
The Richness of Friends
This brings us full circle to the Church article above and the advice to have deep, in-person conversations.
I attended a webinar just last week, and the speaker said, “A fuller, more satisfying life includes rich, meaningful, deep, emotional relationships. When we have them, we do better and are more motivated because they give life more meaning and purpose.”
I have found this to be so true. Life is joyous, despite the bumps, when you have great friends.
Not only did the Savior ask his friends in the garden of Gethsemane to stand by Him – he reaches out to you as a friend:
62 And again, verily I say unto you, my friends [Christ speaking], I leave these sayings with you to ponder in your hearts, with this commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall call upon me while I am near—
63 Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. (D&C 88:62-63)
May we each have dear friends that draw near to us, and we draw near to them. May we answer Christ’s call to do the same with Him.