I’ve reached the end of Job once again.
I’m not sure why God’s instructions to Job surprise me every time I read this last chapter.
God is not happy with the words of advice from Job’s friends.
As a matter of fact,
he tells these men to gather animals for burnt offerings…..
“I’m angry with you,” God says.
“You have not spoken of me what is right.”
God has listened to these men ramble on long enough,
trying to make sense of Job’s suffering as if they had the inside
scoop on the meaning behind earthly pain.
But they have reached their word limit with God.
He’s heard enough.
That’s not the part of this chapter that gets me though.
It’s what God commands Job to do that stops me in my tracks –
every single time.
“My servant Job will pray for you.”
the one sitting in ashes,
the one who has lost all of his children,
the one who has lost all his earthly belongings,
the one who has been covered in boils,
is told to pray for his misguided friends.
And Job does.
I’m trying to picture this scene.
I’m trying to imagine the look on his friends’ faces as Job rises up from the ashes and begins praying for them.
Is there anything more humbling than being prayed for by someone who is in desperate need of prayer themselves?
But that’s what happens.
God tells Job to pray for this small group of men,
and Job obeys.
Job 42:10 says,
“After Job had prayed for his friends,
the Lord made him prosperous again
and gave him as much as he had before.”
I wonder what Job says as he lifted these men up to God.
Does he ask God to forgive them?
Does he offer a prayer of thanks for these men who had faithfully stayed by his side,
even though the things they said while they stood there felt a little like a knife?
I’ve always told other moms who are grieving,
“Be patient with your friends.
They love you.
They just don’t know what to say.”
And when emotions are raw, it doesn’t take a lot to cut to the quick.
Job, in the midst of his earthly suffering, has been hurt deeply.
But God, in true God-fashion, uses even this difficult part of Job’s pain to teach him one more thing.
God wants Job to step out of his own heartache and notice someone else’s.
He places Job right in front of his sacrifice-bearing friends who have fallen short in God’s eyes and says,
“Pray for them.”
He calls Job out of his own darkness and shines a bright light on friends who need God too.
Sometimes we can’t see the world clearly because we’re too deep in our own pit.
God gave Job an entire book of the Bible to wrestle with his suffering,
but the time has come for Job to climb out and do something.
And God knew exactly what the first thing needed to be on Job’s to-do list.
Not for himself.
Not for his wife.
Not for his future.
But for his friends.
I’m a better person when I pray for others first.
God knew Job would be too.
If you find yourself in a pit this morning,
or if you feel discouraged or sad,
God has the answer.
But He says, “first things first.”
Pray for others.
Forgive those who have hurt you or left you feeling disappointed and lonely.
Pray for their souls.
Then watch what happens deep inside your heart as your own darkness begins to melt away.
There’s nothing quite like opening a mini-blind in the morning and watching the sunrise peek through.