When I was in Bible school studying Wisdom Literature, one of the assignments was to read the book of Job in three different versions of the Bible. For my devotional times I am enjoying the New Living Translation which speaks pretty much like we do – with a certain casual cadence.
When we think of Job we think of broken dreams, and he had many. The worst of course was the loss of his children. It is said to be a parent is to forever have your heart walking around in someone else’s body. We can’t control what happens to our children nor control what they do – but our hearts are so intertwined with their lives. Job had a long list of things in his life to grieve. Broken dreams can top most of our lists when it comes to grieving our losses. It’s the “what could have been” in life that often sets us to plains of sadness. What resolution is there for broken dreams?
Well, the last seven verses in the book of Job shed some light and give us hope. After his time of great suffering Job found relief from his troubles. It is important to remember our times of crisis have beginnings AND endings. It won’t always feel so bad as it may feel today. God directed Job to pray for his so-called friends. They were the people who were great friends and grievers for seven days and then they started talking, which was their downfall. All their advice was just salt in the wound of a hurting friend. When Job was down his friends verbally beat him up. But at the end, as part of His restoration of Job, God tells Job pray for his friends. And as Job prays (it’s hard to be unforgiving when praying for someone) God restores Job’s fortunes.
The end of Job tells of the goodness that comes his way. His life was blessed more than at the beginning. There is an end to the story. If Job had harbored any ill will against his friends, even though they were in the wrong, the happy ending could not have been accomplished.
As Job journeyed through his season of broken dreams he kept his heart soft, as difficult as it was, and lived to see great things. In our season of broken dreams, keeping our hearts soft is sometimes the hardest thing. It’s much easier to default to anger, depression or bitterness. But this is not what God wants for us – He wants to “restore our fortunes” and heal our hearts. The end can be better than the beginning, and the key to this is the condition of our hearts as we travel through some of life’s broken dreams.