You have probably heard the story of Job. He was a righteous man blessed greatly by God until Satan asked for permission to afflict him. He took away Job's family, his servants, his wealth, and finally even his health. Job 2:7-10 says, "So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, "Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!" He replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?""
Job yearned for something that reached beyond the covenant of his time, beyond the sacrifices and legalism and religion that he had followed so devoutly his entire life. In Job 9:32-35, he said about God, "He is not a mere mortal like me that I might answer Him, that we might not confront each other in court. If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together, someone to remove God's rod from me, so that His terror would frighten me no more. Then I would speak up without fear of Him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot."
This was before the coming of Jesus, before God extended His grace upon us so that we only need to place faith in His Son in order to receive right standing before Him. Job was a man of the Lord. He loved God in such a pure and righteous way that he could clearly identify His glory and might... and he also identified what he was missing in his relationship with the Lord. A mediator.
As humans, we have broken God's law and fallen from right standing with Him. If we were taken to court, there is no way we could stand on our own. God is a just judge and we deserve to be punished. This is why Jesus died for us and took our place, taking our sins upon Himself. Three days later, He came back to life, and now if we put our faith in Him, we will be saved. This is the Gospel.
Eventually, as the story goes, God answered Job, reminding him that His plans are so much bigger than what we can ever grasp. Although He was angry with Job's judgmental friends, He had mercy on them and forgave them. He replenished Job's blessings and allowed him to have more wealth than he ever had before and many more precious children. Clearly, even before Jesus came to earth, God was a compassionate, loving God. He is unchanging through the old testament and the new.
Although Job was able to talk to God and was extended compassion, he longed for what was to come: a Mediator who would stand for us in love and strength and bring us to a place of purity and righteousness before the Lord. What a beautiful gift the Gospel is. We serve a mighty, compassionate God of love who delights in having a strong relationship with His children.
And even when we face troubles that are difficult to bear, the Lord is holding us close. He is still compassionate. And still He loves us.