Job is an especially rich book of the Bible for me. Reading it got me back into daily Bible devotion in 2020 when I was going through a period of depression in addition to ongoing ME/CFS since 2007. Much of what Job says is dramatic, understandably so, considering the intensity & unrelenting nature of his tormenting condition of festering boils from head to toe. I can relate to much of his lament, such as when he repeatedly asks God about why he is even alive, ("What's the point of life when it doesn't make sense, when God blocks all the roads to meaning?" Job 3:23). Day after day of pain & illness to the point of being unable to function, eat and sleep would make anyone question their existence. This is precisely the point of the masterpiece of Job. The author intrigues readers to examine their lives & consider how or if God intervenes, what God allows or provides to us & why.
Job contains 40 chapters of deep rhetoric between Job, his friends & God speaking through a storm. Note, spoiler alert, I was at first a bit disappointed that the conclusion leaves us without a straight forward answer from God about the main dilemma -- "Why do many Godly people go through horrible things while (so it seems) many wicked people live in ease & luxury?" I've come to understand through discussion & multiple readings of God's response to Job's defense (here's one example of so many)...
"Have you ever in your life commanded the morning and caused the dawn to know its place; that it might take hold of the ends of the earth and the wicked be shaken out of it?" (Job 38:12-13)
...that we are not to know or overly concern ourselves with such matters only God contends with. We are to turn toward rather than away from God, especially in our anger & devastation, He can handle it. Crying out to, is trusting in God and so we pray without ceasing ("Teach me to see what I still don't see. Whatever evil I've done, I'll do it no more." Job 34:32) to deal with our situation to the best of our abilities.
On a personal note, I will share how helpful & healing it has been to have a friend, GJ, who also has ME/CFS. Unlike Job's friends to Job, GJ doesn't shake his finger at me! We are patient, empathetic & encouraging of each other in ways that are difficult to know how to be for those who have not experienced long term illness. We share the same faith & discuss all things Bible for fun ... yes, truly a joy. It was GJ that came up with the phrase "Job it out" which I take to mean: complain as you must for a time then look to God for strength & support ("I've talked too much, way too much, I am ready to shut up & listen." Job 40:5) and do not expect everything to make sense!
Modifying the old adage 'When life gives you lemons...' for those facing chronic illness, I try "gently squeezing" every drop of good (God) out of the 'lemons' I'm given ... & out of life in every situation possible. I certainly did so this past summer when I was able to go camping with GJ (who, by the way, I would not have met if it were not for having ME). Camping took much more planning & rest than previously when I was well but this time I got to go "slow" camping with my ME friend & we had a wonderful time. I'm praying for more adventures like that (minus both of us getting covid afterwards) & beyond. Amen!
God offers everyone the ultimate free gift: eternal relationship with Christ! Why some people forever resist this supernatural love & protection is puzzling to me. Yet from my own experience, I see that acceptance of God's gift - belief in Jesus & faith in the Gospel, evolves. It seems that people go through a stage of fading belief & interest due to reasons that are probably similar to why some people never believe. For examples, life's atrocities & challenges ("How could a loving God..."); unanswered prayers & questions; other things & relationships (idols) made priority; adoption of the mainstream-reductionist, analytical worldview.
People in disbelief or the 'estranged' stage of faith are either unable to experience the real life magic of Christ or integrate these experiences with their reality and rather than facing the dissonance, they focus on other aspects of life.
All the while, God orchestrates that which has us turn towards Him & say "Yes please, thank you God." When we choose to be close enough to hear God, he uses what only he can see in peoples' hearts to guide us. God makes a way, but in this fallen (from God's grace) world, it's often not an easy or pain free way towards His goal of one heart & mind. For instance like when the Lord ensured that Saul & 3000 of Saul's soldiers who were hunting David stay soundly asleep while David showed up Saul!
Forevermore, I'll be relaxing & trusting God not only when life is "good" but especially through difficult times. I'm reading God's word, learning, listening, praying & enjoying God's gift of the living presence of Jesus that keeps on giving :) Amen!