Job, Suffering, and the Covid-19 Pandemic
Is it too much of a stretch to try and link the message of the Book of Job to our current pandemic? I think not. The current pandemic gives us a bit of a handle, a connection if you would, with Job and this book. After all, Job was likely written early in Old Testament history. It was a different time, a different place, something long ago and far away. Living in the 21st century we may have difficulty fixing our minds on the setting and the message of such an ancient text.
The Covid-19 pandemic can serve as a kind of lens, through which we can view the Book of Job. I believe we will see that Job’s circumstances way back in time and our experience with the Corona Virus have a number of similarities, which will help us identify with Job and with his suffering. Because of the current pandemic many people have lost their jobs, and find themselves economically devastated. Job unexpectedly lost all of his wealth in a very short period of time. He, too, was broke. This Corona Virus has taken the lives of friends, neighbors, and relatives, and so there is much grieving going on, around the world. Job lost all of his children in a moment of time. He, too, had much to grieve over. And finally, many of those who are currently infected with the Corona virus are suffering greatly. So, too, with Job, whose suffering took him to the very edge of death. I don’t believe many today could claim that they are suffering as much as Job did, centuries ago, but many are suffering the physical effects of this virus.
The long and the short of all of this is that the adversity Job experienced on an individual level is similar to that which we are now experiencing globally.
I do not intend to conduct an in-depth, verse-by-verse exposition of this book. Rather than to dwell on the “gnats” (the minute details) of this book, I intend to focus on the “camels” – the main points of emphasis – of Job (see Matthew 23:23-24). I will seek to summarize the message of Job in three lessons. This first lesson will deal with the first two chapters of Job. The second lesson will be much more challenging, because we will deal with chapters 3-37. And the third lesson will conclude this study by concentrating on chapters 38-42. I believe that this study will be helpful for those who are dealing with suffering. It will also lay a foundation for a more extensive study of this great book.