Praise in the Wake of Suffering
Day: 1 | Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty
Today’s Reading: Job 1
Job 1:20-21 (NIV) “At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.’”
As we begin our study of Job, we're faced with two hard questions that just might follow us throughout all 42 chapters of this daunting book: Why do godly people suffer? Why does God allow undeserved suffering?
I've asked myself these questions so many times. Especially when I watched my mother slowly and painfully deteriorate, year after year, from Parkinson's Disease. She was a godly woman who celebrated life well, gave what she had to others and loved to tell anyone about Jesus … that is, until the disease completely disabled her.
I wrestled with wondering why God would allow her to suffer so much for so long. It didn't make sense to me then and, in many ways, I still don't fully understand. But I have come to a place of trusting God's sovereignty in loss, suffering and the unknown.
It's interesting how this story of suffering begins with a picture-perfect portrait of Job. Scripture tells us Job was blameless and upright. He certainly was a man who was abundantly blessed in many ways.
Job had a large family and a thriving livelihood. He feared God and turned away from evil. God was pleased with Job and even said there was no one on earth like him. (Job 1:8b)
Job was rich in character, possessions and family life. But in one day, four consecutive disasters struck, leaving Job holding only memories of his 10 children, his servants and all his livestock. Within hours, Job lost everything except his wife and his own life. Why?
If Job would have known about God's conversation with Satan, he would have been better equipped to understand why these awful things were happening. It still would have been incredibly painful, but at least Job would have known it was a test and not something he had done to justify the calamity.
This test was a way to prove Satan wrong about his false assumptions of Job's faithfulness and for God to be glorified. But Job had no idea what was happening in the heavenlies. And yet, even in the wake of sudden destruction, great suffering and unknowing, Job's initial response was this:
"Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said: 'Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.' In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing."
Job acknowledged that he came into this world with nothing and would leave taking nothing with him. Job knew that all he had belonged to God and that God was worthy of utmost praise – both in the giving and in the taking away.
In those excruciating moments, Job became a living example of how the righteous can respond to suffering as they trust God's sovereignty and hold on to His truth when everything seems to be stripped away.
Friend, I don't know what you're facing today or what has been stripped from you, but I do know this: Although it's true that suffering is a part of this broken world and sometimes a devastating result of sin, God can and will use your sufferings and mine for His greater good. Though suffering can be extremely painful, it can have purpose when God is at the center of it. Is suffering easy? Absolutely, not. Is God with us in the suffering? Absolutely, yes.
Regardless of how much suffering we'll experience in our lifetime, one thing is for sure. A day will come when there will be no more sorrow or pain, no more heartache or tears, no more loss or suffering. Our joy will be made complete and we will come face to face with Jesus – the One and Only, who embraced the cross and bore the greatest undeserved suffering completely for us.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, today I am choosing to see my past and present sufferings, not as undeserved acts against me, but as part of Your sovereign plan for me. I trust that everything You've allowed in my life will also serve a purpose for my good and Your glory. I trust that You are here with me in the suffering and that Your grace and love will see me through to the other side of my present struggles. In Jesus' name, amen.
Is it just me or do you find it a little disturbing that Satan was allowed access into heaven... Read More
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