Your Response to TroubleMonday, September 10, 2012
When Job worships Satan is confounded. The worship of one man in the middle of his suffering vindicates the name of God and reverberates among the angels of heaven. Satan shrinks back in silence, dumbfounded by the power of the grace of God in Job’s life.
But for Job’s wife integrity was a means to an end. She felt it was God’s responsibility to fill her life with good things, keep the family healthy and the business prospering. As long as that happened she was a woman of integrity. But Job was different. How do you explain the difference?
People would have seen them at church together, Mr. & Mrs. Job and their 10 children, all in a row on Sunday morning. They seem like a delightful couple. But when suffering comes, it’s obvious that they’re very different. One loves God for who He is; the other loves God for what He gives. One loves God unconditionally; the other loves God as a means to an end.
People who endure great suffering
Some time ago, about 20 of us met together for an evening I will never forget. I had become aware of a number of folks in our congregation who had walked through the dark valley of the death of a son or a daughter.
Each family shared what they’d found most difficult and what had helped them most. There were many tears and a common bond that comes from seeing your own experience in someone else’s story, “I asked why and never got an answer! I felt angry with God, then wondered if I should!”
At the end of the evening there was one thing that stood out. Here were 20 people who’d experienced inexpressible pain. Their suffering is a mystery to them and the pain of it is with them still, and yet, every one of them loves God. How can you explain that? Here are people who have endured great suffering and yet they truly love God.
What’s the point?
“Now, for a little while, you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.” 1 Peter 1:6
Inevitably, when we go through great suffering we ask the question: What is the point? What good can come out of this? Here is the Bible’s answer: Your faith will be proved genuine. It will result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
My mind immediately runs to Christ’s suffering. He’s brought before a prejudiced judge and indicted on charges brought by false witnesses. None of that makes Him ask “Why?” He’s paraded through the streets, as people who’d praised Him days before now shout for Him to be crucified. None of that makes Him ask “Why?” He’s beaten, stripped, flogged and crucified. None of that makes Him ask “Why?”
As Jesus hangs on the cross darkness covers the land, and the comfort of God is withdrawn from His soul as He bears the sins of the world. Jesus cries out in a loud voice, “’Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani’—which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Matthew 27:46).
Yet, in the mystery of His unspeakable suffering, He worships, “Father, into your hand I commit my Spirit” (Luke 23:46). Into the hand of the God who allowed this to happen to you? Yes, into the hand of the Father He loves! And that splintered the gates of hell...
This week's Scripture: Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship...His wife said to him, "Are you still holding onto your integrity? Curse God and die!" Job 1:20; Job 2:9
This LifeKey based on the message “Suffering,” by Pastor Colin S. Smith, delivered August 20, 2000, from the series “Unlocking the Bible.” Colin currently serves as Senior Pastor of the The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in Arlington Heights, Illinois. He is committed to preaching the Bible in a way that nourishes the soul by directing attention to Jesus Christ.