“My friends cautioned me not to write this book. They warned me, ‘No one who attempts to write any kind of commentary on Job can escape without some new experience in suffering.’ They had a point.”
-Hugh Ross, Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job
In the years it took Hugh to write Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job, he (and his wife, Kathy) endured profound personal suffering. Some of those trials, including the loss of their fathers and almost losing their son, are shared in his latest book.
Hugh’s intent was to write on the science content in Job. Instead, the book developed into a conversation about the connection between creation theology and evil and suffering.
Most are familiar with Job’s story. He loses his animals, servants, sons, and daughters—all in one disastrous day. Like an ancient George Bailey, he wishes he were never born, or, rather, that he had died at birth.
The sufferings people bear today look more like home foreclosures, the death of a loved one, and cancer. If we look to Job we see how crucial it is for us to be certain of who our God is.
Job’s covered in boils. His breath is repulsive to his wife. His close friends have deserted him. He’s even scorned by “little boys”—a huge insult given the patriarchal society, where elders are to be respected. And yet Job still asserts “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth” (Job 19:25).
This Redeemer, Job says, “stretches out the heavens and treads on waves of the sea.” He wraps up the waters in his clouds, yet the clouds do not burst under their weight. He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters for a boundary between light and darkness (Job 26:8, 10).
So certain is Job of who his Redeemer is that he doesn’t budge in his convictions. Even when friends—miserable comforters, they’re called—insist Job is bringing the calamities on himself. Even when his wife urges him to curse God and die, Job endures.
Knowing the struggles Hugh faced during the writing of Hidden Treasures sheds additional light on the importance of understanding God’s character and His hand in creation. Hugh writes, “Job did not waste his suffering. He used the trauma he experienced to draw closer to God and learn deep truths that would enlighten his friends and ultimately benefit all humanity.”
Woven into Job’s (and Hugh’s) story of suffering is a declaration of God’s creative work and a key to understanding how to care for creation. With this deeper understanding of who God is, we can assert even in the midst of suffering that our Redeemer lives and His hand is all over creation.
A few of our blogging friends have taken the time to review Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job. Check out their blogs here:
“Book Review: Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job,” by Mike Robinson
“Book Review: Hidden Treasures in the Book of Job by Hugh Ross,” by J. W. Wartick
“Mail Call: 2 New Titles from Baker Books,” by Bob Hayton
**UPDATE** Hugh Ross recently joined Pat Robertson on The 700 Club to discuss Hidden Treasures on the Book of Job. Watch the clip here.
For more on the problem of evil and suffering, check out RTB’s topic page on the Problem of Evil. And look for The Problem of Evil CD/MP3 set, expected to release next month.