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agios_chrysostomosHas the devil filled you with sorrow on account of some harm he has brought upon you? Make him sad as well by thanking God. The best thing, of course, is for you not to become sad at all. In this manner, you will give the devil a fatal blow. When he sees you ignoring him and his evil ways, he will depart in shame. Thus, we rightfully marvel more at the person who loses his wealth and gratefully endures this deprivation than the person who maintains his wealth and joyfully gives alms to the poor.

But let us now return to the magnificent example of Job. Have you ever wondered why the devil did not kill his wife along with his children? He didn’t kill her because he knew quite well that this woman would help him tremendously in the future to fulfill his evil plan. “If with the aid of a woman I was able to exile Adam from Paradise,” he thought to himself, “with the aid of a woman it will be much easier for me to subjugate Job and have him do as I please—for he is not in Paradise like Adam, but seated on a dunghill.” Take note of the devil’s maliciousness. He did not use the woman as his instrument initially when Job lost his flocks, or when the house of his eldest son collapsed and buried all his children under the rubble. Rather, he used her once he struck Job’s body with an unbearable illness. When his rotted flesh was falling to the ground, when worms were eating away at his body, when he could no longer tolerate the excruciating pain and desired death, this is precisely when the evil one incited Job’s wife to advise him, “Until when will you be so patient? How long will you wait and hope for your suffering to come to an end?…Go ahead! Blaspheme God and die!” (Job 2:9-14).

At that moment, the devil was certain that he would finally witness Job’s downfall. However, he was terribly fooled! Not only did this blessed man not blaspheme God, but he glorified the Lord: “Despite all this, Job sinned not” (Job 1:22).

Who ever saw or heard of such a wondrous achievement? During a boxing match, the winner is he who knocks his opponent to the ground. In this case, however, the opposite took place: the devil was defeated and ran away shamefully after he gave Job a beating and laid him up on a dunghill. “What’s wrong, O devil? Why are you running away? Didn’t you accomplish everything you wanted? Didn’t you destroy Job’s calves and donkeys? Didn’t you burn his sheep? Didn’t you kill his children? Didn’t you fill his body with wounds? Why then are you running away?”

“I’m leaving,” the devil replies, “because I accomplished everything I wanted except for one thing! The one thing I desired more than all the others did not occur. The end result that I was hoping to achieve through all these things did not take place. Job did not blaspheme God! Therefore, I gained nothing by

destroying his wealth, killing his children, and wounding his body. On the contrary, I suffered a great loss, because on account of his steadfast patience and devoutness, he was glorified even more by humanity, and he became even more loved by God.”

Do you see what Job gained from his sufferings? He won both the admiration of men and the love of God. He gained both earthly and heavenly glory. This was because his virtue became evident through his sufferings.

Therefore, let us all envy his godliness. Having witnessed all the good things that spring forth from patience, let us not lose courage when we are hit by misfortunes—no matter how difficult they may be. For there is no human in misfortune who cannot find consolation from Job’s example. If this holy man did not grumble when all the earthly adversities simultaneously beset him, how will we sinful people dare to grumble when we are faced with only one difficulty? If this innocent man was unable to evade trials, how is it possible for us who are guilty to evade them? If this person who unjustly suffered, nevertheless, blessed God for all his sorrows, how can we who suffer less (even though we deserve worse on account of unrepentant state) not also bless and thank Him? 

St. John Chrysostomos

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