I've never attempted to compare myself to Job. Job was innocent; I seem to have worked pretty hard to get into the trouble I do. For instance, my wife is in the process of divorcing me.
So Job starts out with the "Sons of God" presenting themselves before the throne. Satan is among them. God points out his servant Job. Satan says it would be really easy for Job to curse God. God gives Satan permission. In Chapter 2, Satan ups the ante, and God goes along with it.
In Chapter 3, Job's three friends come from an apparent distance to mourn with him. It says they sat there quietly for 7 days. Then in Chapter 4, Job opens his mouth and wails about how it would have been better had he never been born.
Most of the book is Job's friends' attempts to tell Job "Now, you just wait a minute here!" They each take an attempt, and Job responds, and it escalates. Finally, them and Job run out of things to say, and Elihu opens his verbose mouth (can somebody please shut Elihu up?) and rambles on for 5 chapters.
Then God shows up, and takes Job on a "tour" of exactly where he fits into the grand scheme of things. Job attempts in Chapter 40 to admit he's talking out of turn, but God continues on the tour of majesty. Job repents. God restores Job double what he once had.
It's a great book.
But I've always been left wondering something.
What if Job's friends, rather than start rebuking him after Chapters 4 and 5, tried something different?
What if one of them just gave Job a hug, and told him "It's cool, Job. We'll get you through this"?
The problem with suffering and advice is, most of us are Job's friends. Hey, don't knock them. They traveled far to sit with him in mourning. Those are pretty good friends. They didn't start arguing with him until Job wailed that he should never have been born. Then they tried to defend against his thinking. And Job got defensive, and it escalated. But they were trying to be faithful to what they understood about God.
I notice when I'm in suffering, sometimes other believers become my enemies. Sure, they think they're defending God. They think they're helping. But they're not.
When I lost my job in 2010, somebody at church actually asked me "You know you can find jobs in the paper, right?" It took all my willpower not to sarcastically reply (pardon my French) "No shit! I'm in my late 30's, and nobody ever told me THERE ARE JOBS IN THE NEWSPAPER!"
Just like my divorce. I've been married 12 years. And other Christians, who just find out, come in with "You have to fight for your marriage!" I want to ask "Oh, really? Where were you 5 years ago? That advice would have made all the difference. Why did nobody else share with me this sacred advice?" It's as if I haven't been fighting, and praying, and seeking counsel, and reading books like "Love and Respect", "Sacred Marriage", and other big named and lesser names tomes. Nope, just bouncing around like a ping pong ball in a clothes dryer. Never even occurred to me to pray, you'd think based on the advice of most evangelical Christians.
Others advise me to get "The Love Dare" and run it. Like I haven't already. You do know Fireproof was just a movie, right? And even at that, not based on a true story?
Romans 12:15 says "Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep". Would the story of Job have come out differently if his friends, rather than challenging his rant, decided to weep with him?