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How to Deal With Difficulty: Metaphysical Lessons from Job

Aug 20, 2008
For lots of people, the Book of Job is a difficult book. It relates the story of a righteous man who loses every precious thing he possesses, who suffers horribly, who seems victimized by the very God he worships. Let's start with a snapshot of Job's story. We only have space for a few glimpses although our journey will take us through the entire book of Job, chapters 1 thru 42.

The narrative begins with a description of Job as a man 'perfect and upright, one that feared God, and turned away from evil.' (1:1) Job's goodness is so incredible that God says to Satan in (1:8) 'There is none like him on earth.'

Satan insinuates that Job is pious because he has lived a life that is blessed and protected. Satan says, 'Put forth thy hand and touch all that he has and he will renounce you to your face.' (1:11)

Jehovah allows Satan to deprive Job of everything he has in order to test him. Job loses all of his material possessions, his children, his livestock, his servants, everything! Job is crushed, but he still continues to worship God.

When Jehovah rejoices that Job continues to praise Him, Satan hints that only Job's possessions and family have been affected. He tells God that if Job himself is afflicted, he will turn from God.

So Jehovah says to Satan, "Behold he is in thy hand, only spare his life." (2:6) Job comes down with painful sores and boils from head to foot (2:7). Chapter 3, verse 25 explains Job's difficult situation. It says: "What Job feared came upon him." Sound familiar? Have you ever found yourself in a similar situation? Listen to what happens next.

Three of his closest friends (Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar) learn of Job's plight and come to comfort him. Chapters 3-31 contain conversations between Job and his friends.

Eliphaz believes Job is suffering because he has sinned; Bildad ponders that if Job was more upright, he would not be in the trouble he's in; Zophar rebukes Job for being so self-righteous and fearful, and begs him to repent.

Job reproaches them for their judgmentalness and feels forsaken by his friends and God. "I have been wronged. I cry for help, but there is no justice." (19:7)

Finally Job looks deeply within himself, and then declares in (31:35) "Let the Almighty answer me!" When he does, his three friends go away and Elihu comes to his rescue. With the arrival of Elihu, Satan backs off. The story ends with Jehovah giving Job twice as much as he had before (42:10) and Job lives happily ever after.

Despite the happy ending, the literal interpretation of this story leaves more questions than answers. Why did Job have to suffer in the first place? Why did God co-conspire with Satan to bring about Job's suffering? Are we simply pawns in the battle between good and evil? What was God thinking, you might ask?

All of these questions are perfectly natural questions -- if we take this extraordinary story literally. The spiritual meaning of Job's suffering becomes obvious when we take a metaphysical look. Metaphysically, the Book of Job is a case study in Mind Action. And as we mentioned earlier, Chapter 3:25 tells us why Job suffered: "What Job feared came upon him."

The characters mentioned in the Book of Job are the thoughts, personal qualities, attitudes, and beliefs we hold in our consciousness. Their metaphysical interpretations are as follows:

Zehovah stands for the Christ of us, our God-Self

Satan symbolizes the tendency within each of us to forsake our divinity.

Eliphaz represents our half-hearted desire for spiritual wholeness

Bildad is our on-again/off-again awareness of our Christ potential

Zophar is our fault-finding nature which blames others for our troubles

Elihu is the Holy Spirit, the still small voice

Job represents that part of us that outwardly appears to be centered and dedicated to truth principles, but inwardly chooses to be deceived by outer appearances and then allows fears, doubts, and a sense of unworthiness to get the best of us.

So, here's a metaphysical interpretation of the story of Job:

Our God-Self (Zehovah) honors our power of choice, even if it means allowing us to deny our divinity (Satan). When we experience difficult times, the Job in us, (represented by Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zohar) fears the worst in outer appearances and allows those things to get the best of us. However, once we remember that it is our own error thoughts which have caused us to miss the mark; we can go to our Christ Center (Elihu) and listen for that still small voice. In the story, God doubled Job's prosperity. The number '2' represents the two natures of us, human and divine, becoming one.

So, what is the message for us when we experience those dark night of the soul experiences?

1. We can change the outer world by changing our inner world. Become aware of what you are really thinking, and claim dominion over your thoughts. Choose to remember your Spiritual nature.

2. We can refuse to give power to outer appearance. When the 'Job' in us stops giving power to outer appearances and accepts our divinity, it will be the second time fire is discovered by the human race - the fire of the discovery of our divinity. When that happens, there will be no more suffering, wars, or dis-ease. What a wonderful world that will be!

3. We can claim our oneness with God. We experience pain because we believe we are separated from God. And because we believe we are separated from God, we believe we are separate from one another. And because we deny our oneness with one another, we perpetuate a collective error consciousness, which gives power to outer appearances that strengthens our belief in our separation from our God-ness. That belief is the cause of all suffering.

So to avoid suffering, acknowledge and celebrate your oneness with God! Your prosperity, inner peace, and joy will come back to you, multiplied!
About the Author
Drs. Bil & Cher Holton are Spiritual Leaders at Unity Spiritual Life Center in Durham, NC, where they practice positive, practical, progressive Christianity. Visit their website at Unity Spiritual Life Center and sign up to receive a complimentary 4-week e-course.
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