Many believe Job is the oldest book of the Bible and he lived in the period before Noah’s flood. The book reveals how we are to deal with suffering, and it is not a message that many of us want to hear.
Job was a wealthy and righteous man who lost his children, wealth and even his health. When we encounter trials and suffering believers find themselves standing on a thin balancing beam with a choice to fall one way or another.
Job’s wife who for the most part was equally affected by what happened became embittered by the tragedy that engulfed them, telling her husband to “curse God and die” (Job 2:9).
However, Job chose a different path continuing to hope and believe God through all that was happening to him:
“Though He slay me,
I will hope in Him.
Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him.” (Job 13:15 NASV)
Hope was Job’s life line. But if I am honest with myself, I tend to follows his wife’s example, more than I do Job’s when I run into difficulties.
The Hebrew word translated hope (aya-hel) includes the idea of hope and expectation. But it also means to “wait” which is how the word is translated in Psalm 37:7. A willingness to patiently wait and believe God through our trials is the true testament of a person’s faith.
Recently on Faith it, I read a story of Sarah Rodriguez ‘s faith in God through a horrific ordeal. She told her incredible story in a book entitled, From the Depths We Rise.
In 2010, Sarah, 35, found out her husband Joel was diagnosed with an aggressive form of kidney cancer and though chemo beat it back, it returned with a vengeance in 2012. Doctors diagnosed its return shortly after Sarah gave birth to the couple’s first child, Milo.
Even having their son had been a struggle. They had tried unsuccessfully for several years to have a child before ending up at a vitro clinic that resulted in Milo’s successful birth. But through this process, they also stored two fertilized embryos thinking they would need them if they wanted more children.
Before that could happen, the cancer took Joel’s life in 2013.
But something strange happened a few months before her husband died, Joel told his wife that they were going to have another child, a baby girl. Sarah seeing what was happening to her husband knew in her heart that was not going to happen.
But shortly after Joel’s death, Sarah started thinking about what her husband had said and those two fertilized embryos still being stored for them.
In November 2014, Sarah gave birth to a baby girl, who she named Ellis. During their struggle to become pregnant, Sarah had dreamed one night she was holding a baby girl named Ellis.
But then tragedy struck again.
Shortly after her birth, Ellis came down with Bacterial Meningitis and Sepsis. The disease ravaged her little body and Ellis was on life support and dying. Doctors told Sarah that there was no hope and even if she lived, Ellis would be a vegetable.
Having just lost her husband a year earlier, Sarah said she asked God, “Haven’t I suffered enough?”
Yet despite what was happening, she remembered the words her husband had spoken a year earlier. In the midst of this trial, Sarah continued to pray and believe for her daughter’s healing.
However, with no hope of recovery, the doctors finally said Ellis should be taken off the ventilator that was helping her breath. They laid her on Sarah’s chest for the last moments of her life.
With her daughter in her arms, Sarah continued to pray for her daughter’s healing.
Ellis struggled a bit but began breathing on her own. However, doctors assured Sarah that her daughter would not last long.
But Ellis continued breathing and finally a few hours later, the doctors realized something incredible had happened — they were witnessing a miracle.
“They were dumbfounded that she was able to go from not breathing on a vent to breathing room air on her own. By the end of the week, doctors and nurses were just coming in the room and saying, ‘We want to look at her, because she’s a miracle.'”
Today, Ellis is a living testimony of one woman’s persistent faith in the midst of incredible suffering:
“As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
And at the last He will take His stand on the earth. (Job 19:25 NASV)