Suffering

I have just finished reading the book of Job in the bible.  He is a very familiar name in our culture, and even unbelievers have frequently heard of him and associate him with suffering.  Job was a person who had literally lost everything but his life.  He lost his children, possessions, health, and apparently the love and respect of his wife.  His many, many questions are questions we ourselves have asked.  His number one question, asked in different ways was “What did I do to deserve this?”  He kept answering his own question in various ways, insisting he did nothing to deserve it.  While that may have been true in the context of the story (Satan inflicted the suffering on Job, trying to prove to God that people only use God and do not love or trust Him), Job was trying to insist he was righteous, and of course that is not true.  None of us are righteous.  While we can’t understand God’s purposes in allowing our suffering , we can know that evil does not come from God, but only from the evil one.  God only allows people to suffer in order to accomplish a purpose beyond our understanding.  The book of Job shows us there are workings in the heavenlies that we cannot see or hear.  It shows us that God does care about our welfare.  The book of Job shows us that God somehow more than makes it up to us when we have suffered.  It shows us that God is so far above our ability to comprehend Him that our inability to understand our suffering is a foregone conclusion.   Don’t we trust him when He is doing what we perceive as good?  We never question why he allows good things to happen to us.  The only question remaining, is whether we will trust this magnificent, awesome, almighty God no matter what happens.  The challenge is whether we will love Him.  Thank God He came to us in human form in the person of Jesus Christ.  We can know He understands our human weakness, our faulty understanding, our questions and our pain.  He suffered more than any of us can imagine.  And, really, we don’t even understand completely why Jesus had to suffer as He did.  May God accept our praise and thanksgiving.  He understands how limited even that can be, and He loves us as we are.

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One Response to “Suffering”

  1. Robert Sutherland Says:

    You might be interested in this online commentary “Putting God on Trial: The Biblical Book of Job” (http://www.bookofjob.org) as supplementary or background material for your study of the Book of Job. It is not a sin to question God, to demand answers from God. There is a time and a place for such things. It is written by a Canadian criminal defense lawyer, now a Crown prosecutor, and it explores the legal and moral dynamics of the Book of Job with particular emphasis on the distinction between causal responsibility and moral blameworthiness embedded in Job’s Oath of Innocence. It is highly praised by Job scholars (Clines, Janzen, Habel) and the Review of Biblical Literature, all of whose reviews are on the website. It is also taught in 262 US high schools in 40 states through Chapter 17 in The Bible and Its Influence. The author is an evangelical Christian, denominationally Anglican. He is also the Canadian Director for the Mortimer J. Adler Centre for the Study of the Great Ideas, a Chicago-based think tank.

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