Sunday rest and reflection–suffering!
Greetings on this day of rest! As we study Job, we come to understand that God’s ways are different than ours. He allowed suffering even in the life of his finest servants. God, Himself, had declared Job to be blameless. God knew that Job was a righteous man who feared Him and tried to please Him. Job sacrificed to God and prayed for his children. Why would God allow this suffering to come into Job’s life?
Isn’t life better and more satisfying if we never have to suffer? What possible benefits can come from suffering? What did Job gain from this gruesome experience? We have many questions and few answers. Jesus declared that trouble was to be part of life in a fallen world. (John 16:33) He told his disciples that if they wanted to follow Him, they must take up a cross, implying suffering and death. (Luke 14:27) He warned them that because of Him there would be division and strife in families and between friends. (Matthew 12:51-53) Jesus also warned of great turmoil and wars in the last days and that His followers must be watchful and prayerful in order to escape and stand before the Son of Man. (Luke 21:23-24) (Luke 21:36)
Jesus, Himself, faced sorrows, suffering and death while He was here on earth. Although He was righteous and truly blameless, He was falsely accused and treated unfairly. Peter declares that when Jesus suffered unjustly, He entrusted Himself to the Father who would judge justly! (1st Peter 2:23) He never retaliated or answered harshly to those who mistreated Him. He simply fulfilled the purpose of the Father by offering His body as a sacrifice for our sins. (1st Peter 2:24) Peter also states that since Jesus suffered in His body, we should also be prepared to suffer with the same attitude. (1st Peter 4:1) When we suffer in our body, Peter says we cease from sin and focus on living for the will of God. (1st Peter 4:2) Peter also states that we should rejoice when we suffer because of identification with Jesus Christ. We are blessed when we suffer for Him and the Spirit of Grace and Glory will rest on us! (1st Peter 4:12-14)
These thoughts on suffering run counter to the attitudes of the world we live in. Job was suffering because of His righteous trust in God. God’s grace sustained him and in the end he was truly blessed! May you develop the attitude of Jesus Christ towards suffering! May that same attitude work in me as well! In His Love, Pastor John