“I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus.”
This is how John begins relating the revelations he received that are preserved in the Book of Revelation, the last book of the New Testament. Sometimes we read over things quickly that other times will stick out. This verse sticks out today, perhaps, because we have a good friend who is fighting cancer. Today is also the 15th anniversary of 9/11.
“You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.” (James 5:11))
People can relate to the story of Job. He suffered physical ailments, the loss of his family and all he owned. Many people have suffered similar losses, but what of the compassion of God?
Job is a long book. Most of it focuses on Job’s suffering and questioning – Why me?! We are told in the beginning that Job was pure and upright, but then he suffered terribly at the hands of Satan … while God looked on! His religious friends are not very sympathetic. They talked a lot, but they didn’t say much other than to question: “If you’re so good, why is God God treating you so badly?”
Job’s friends didn’t believe that Job was as good as he claimed. The truth is, he probably wasn’t, but that’s another story. The truth is also that “bad things happen to good people”. Life isn’t fair in the hard times it dishes out. “Good” people sometimes have the worst luck, and “bad” people sometimes seem to get all the good things.