Lessons from a Job Season

Photo: Cape Coral, Florida

“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2)

During the past two years, my wife and I have walked through what I would call a “Job season.” I say that cautiously, realizing the weight of such a phrase for anyone who considers what Job endured. I won’t claim to have actually experienced trials equal to Job’s, and I certainly recognize that many people walk through more difficult ordeals than we have, but what separates a Job season from other kinds of suffering is that it is a prolonged series of intense trials that seem to have no end in sight and are not the result or consequence of obvious sin.

Our Job season started when we lost a baby through miscarriage. Then we, along with our four young children, lived through and lost our home in a hurricane. We then lost the chance to move to a new home for which we had just paid a deposit. Those challenges were compounded with endless insurance battles and spending months moving to different short-term rentals. Then, while rejoicing in the discovery that my wife was pregnant, she had an extraordinarily difficult pregnancy that resulted in multiple extended hospital stays. Meanwhile, I had an unexpected major surgery that kept me in the hospital for many weeks and required months of recovery at home. After the baby was born, my wife had a long recovery from the delivery, with more extended hospital stays, and then had another surgery, and another recovery. In the midst of everything else, I grieved the loss of both my grandmother and my mother.

Some of you may read all of that and think that you could never survive such a barrage of trials. Others may say, “That sounds like nothing compared to what I am going through.” I can certainly think of people who are going through even more difficult situations right now.

Whether you have suffered more, suffered less, or your suffering is still to come, none of us lives a life free from the difficulties that are part of a world marred by sin and curse. Sometimes the troubles seem unexplainable, uncontrollable, and unending. Like Job, we may relentlessly call out to God, and, like Job, we may not receive quick relief or quick answers.

But as Job realized, one thing that cannot be true is that God is absent in the suffering. He said, “Though he slay me, I will hope in him” (Job 13:15).

In my own recent Job season, I yearned for answers that did not always come and prayed for relief that often seemed long delayed. But there were also plenty of ways in which I saw God’s hand clearly at work, and I want to share just a few of them.

His Grace Is Sufficient

When the apostle Paul, who suffered plenty of his own Job seasons, prayed that he would be relieved of his “thorn in the flesh,” the Lord told him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). God said these words to Paul, but He surely directs them to all of His children. At every point in life, this verse is a precious truth for followers of Jesus to cling to. But during any degree of suffering, it is a candle in the darkness, a rock to stand on, a life raft to cling to, a shield to hold up against despair. His grace is sufficient. The power that upholds the universe is with you.

How can we be strong when we are at our weakest? Because in those times, we are forced to remember that all of our strength comes from “my helper” and “the upholder of my life” (Psalm 54:4). Share on X

Not only did this truth give Paul reason to resist despair, but he went even further and said, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10-12).

How can we be strong when we are at our weakest? Because in those times, we are forced to remember that all of our strength comes from “my helper” and “the upholder of my life” (Psalm 54:4).

The Power of “I Have Been There”

When you share about major suffering or a tragedy in your life, the response from most people is going to be something like, “I could never imagine…” The sympathy is appreciated, but their help can only go so far. But what a treasure and profound comfort to come across someone who has shared a similar trial. Someone who truly understands the pain, the emotions, the grief. Someone who can genuinely say, I have been there.

There is a power in those four little words to bring comfort and a glimmer of hope during the times of deepest distress. When you, by God’s grace, have endured an unusually difficult circumstance, you can now offer something unique and precious to someone entering into that suffering. Depending on how unusual the trial is, you may be the only one he or she will meet who can say, “I have been there.” You can be the one to remind them that they are not alone and that God’s grace is sufficient, even in this.

The Scripture proclaims the same idea in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

God helps you and gives you comfort through your suffering, in part so that you can say “I have been there” to others and walk with them in their Job seasons. In addition to whatever else the Lord is doing during those difficult times, He is equipping you for future ministry, even as He ministers to you

But what a treasure and profound comfort to come across someone who has shared a similar trial. Someone who truly understands the pain, the emotions, the grief. Someone who can genuinely say, I have been there. Share on X

The Blessing of the Body of Christ

Being a part of a local church has countless benefits, not to mention being a matter of obedience to the Scripture, and being surrounded by faithful followers of Christ is vital to walking with the Lord through this world. Our souls desperately need to be fed with God’s truth through the preaching of the Word, and to gather together with other souls to “encourage one another and build one another up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). During seasons of suffering, however, those benefits are amplified to an even greater level. Whether that suffering is emotional, physical, relational, financial—or all of the above—the church is called to be a refuge and help, providing for practical needs and spiritual encouragement.

During our Job season, our church family was spiritually and practically life-giving, and we never felt like we were walking the journey on our own. Our material needs were met in myriad ways, and we were constantly reminded to keep our “eyes [looking] to the Lord our God” (Psalm 123:2).

Our souls desperately need to be fed with God’s truth through the preaching of the Word, and to gather together with other souls to “encourage one another and build one another up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Share on X

As church members, it can be easy to feel helpless in watching other members endure suffering. But don’t ever underestimate the significance of a meal or a visit or a card or—certainly—a prayer. If you are a church member going through a Job season, lean into God’s grace given through His people. Ask for prayer, and humbly accept any care and comfort that is offered to you.

God Remembers

In the midst of the hardships of our Job season, God graciously brought a son into our family. We named him Zechariah, which means “God remembers.” Little Zechariah is a testimony that God remembered us during our Job season, and his name is a reminder to us and to everyone who meets our son that God is always faithful to remember His promises and His people, no matter what circumstances we might face.

The longer a trial goes, the more tempted we may be to think that God has forgotten us. I know there have been times when I have prayed, with David, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” (Psalm 13:1). But God remembers.

Between Genesis 50, when Joseph died, and Exodus 1, Jacob’s descendants endured 400 years of increasing difficulty in Egypt with no apparent word from the Lord. But “God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob” (Exodus 2:24), and He sent Moses to rescue His people.

At the time Jesus was born, God had again been silent for 400 years. But as another Zechariah proclaimed, God had not forgotten His promise to send a Savior: “Through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:78-79 NKJV).

Neither will our Lord forget us no matter how long our time of suffering seems to go on


In February 2024, my mother died after a struggle with cancer that lasted many years. Her Job season was long and exceedingly difficult, but she suffered well and saw the Lord using this horrible sickness to draw her to Himself. She trusted in His grace, comforted others, received (and gave) blessings from her local church, and was a constant witness that God remembered her. In a journal entry right after receiving her diagnosis, she wrote:

“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” It has been about three weeks now that I have known I have cancer. I am going through a mixture of emotions. I am scared, hopeful, determined, worried, nervous, anxious, etc. People have been so kind so many prayers are being said on my behalf. God has already shown me things I might not have seen. It is hard not to question God, but I know He is still in control. Someone asked me if I was mad at God. Absolutely NOT! I am praying that God will let me use this cancer to witness to those around me, especially family. Praise be to God!!!

In the midst of a Job season, no matter how difficult, God is there. He is still in control. He is still on His throne as Creator and King of the universe. And if your faith is in Jesus Christ and His salvation, then you are secure in Him now and forever.

“The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.” Psalm 121:7-8

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5 Responses

  1. YES – wow. Having watched you on this road since we moved here two years ago brings tears to my eyes, brother.

    Makes me think of when the exiles were leaving their captivity:

    “You’ve restored our hearts like streams that flow,
    those who’ve sown in tears now reap with joy
    And return with shouts and songs
    Carrying the fruit of God =
    You have done great things!
    And we are filled with JOY.”

    Psalm 126
    God has blessed you, He’s truly worked this all for your good! Thank you for sharing.

  2. Thank you, dear brother, for your faithful proclamation of who God is. May others be blessed by your faithful witness to His glory and may you and your family be richly blessed by our gracious Lord for your Kingdom work as you tell of His goodness. Continuing to pray for you all.

  3. Helpful reminders from Scripture. Thank you for sharing your family’s experience. May the Lord continue to sustain you with His grace…

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