The story of Job is one of faith and trust in God despite the trials and tribulations that come with life — something many older adults of faith can appreciate. Whether you've worked hard throughout life, overcoming what seems like challenge after challenge, to get to where you are or you've suddenly faced obstacles or new challenges in retirement, consider some of the messages from Job below.
At Bethesda Senior Living Communities, one of our goals is to support a vibrant, enjoyable lifestyle for every resident in our senior living and assisted living communities. We create beautiful, safe settings where residents can live, socialize and be active throughout retirement. But we also know that no matter how great things are, no life is entirely idyllic.
Life on this earth comes with challenges, including health struggles, friction with friends and family, financial obstacles and fear about the state of the world. In Job, we can see someone who's faced pretty much all of these challenges. He's lost everyone he loved, his wife cursed him, he's experienced health issues and even his friends come to him and accuse him.
Yet through all of this, Job perseveres. Several times throughout the book, he laments his life and says it would be better if he wasn't born. And yet he continues to live. He continues to give arguments to support himself to his friends. He doesn't give up.
Job's friends provide another important lesson for people of all ages. They come in the guise of offering support to Job, but their advice is misguided and full of negativity. They also don't show much compassion or understanding for Job's plight.
The Bible says believers should be light-shiners. One way to shine a light for others is to offer compassion rather than argumentation when they're struggling. As you speak with or support friends or family who are going through challenges in life, think about ways you can offer comfort. Sometimes, simply sitting with someone in their time of need is an important comfort, for example.
Job doesn't trust blindly in God. He even questions the ways of God that could have led to all this trouble. Why, Job asked, did God make him suffer so? It's in part this questioning that brings rebuke from his friends, but in reality, Job is doing nothing wrong by asking honest questions.
He truly does wonder why this is happening to him. Who better to ask these questions to than God? Instead of pushing his resentment and questions down because he's scared they may mar his faith, Job has an honest, deep dialogue with God.
Older adults of faith who want a deeper relationship with God might model Job's approach. Open communication with God to everything in your life, holding nothing back. After all, he knows your thoughts, doubts and questions anyway, but he wants you to share them with him in your own way.
At the same time, even while questioning what's happening, Job never questions God's sovereignty. He uses the term for God "El Shaddai," which means God Almighty.
This is a term used many times elsewhere in the Bible, including by God himself. In Genesis, for example, God tells both Abraham and Jacob that he is "El Shaddai."
One contextual meaning of this phrase is "the overpowerer." The concept is that God can achieve everything within his purpose. Job knows this is true, even when it seems like God is allowing everything in Job's own life to fall apart.
The story of Job is a great reminder for people of all ages that faith is something that goes beyond the material and the flesh. Job's faith remains even when wealth and blessings are removed. This is akin to what Paul talks about in the New Testament when he says he counted all his gains as loss for the sake of Christ because knowing Jesus was more important than anything else in his life.
Retirement can be a time of great change, and those changes aren't always easy. Older adults who feel like they're caught in this change and saying goodbye to an old way of life can remember Job and the reminder to have faith in all circumstances, because God is good even when life is not.