The Blessing of Suffering
“Curse God and die!” Job 2:9
Job a man of great renown in the East had just experienced the most tragic event of his life. His children both sons and daughters killed in one day, his possession stripped and his humanity impoverished. His wife dealt with the pain in agony and would not hear that even in this God’s purpose would be accomplished. She told her husband to curse God and die (Job 2:9b, ESV); but Job was reassured that even in his suffering God was present and loved him. He dealt with his pain differently than his wife whom he called a foolish woman for only expecting goodness.
Job felt blessed by what he suffered and even in his pain he felt he was foolish himself. He stated, “therefore, I uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know” (Job 42:5, ESV). How many times in our moments of darkness have we refused to see the light behind it. Darkness is only a temporary stage and we cannot remain in it forever for our God is unapproachable light, darkness cannot consume His light. God through the prophet Isaiah said, “…. you whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” (Isaiah 46: 3b-4, NIV).
Although suffering does not have an age requirement it is important to remember that suffering draws us closer to God. In this nearness how do you respond? In anger, acceptance or in humility. Suffering is not limited to children with cancer, parents with Alzheimer’s, disease or a parent in despair that cannot give their child their next meal or warm bed. Suffering it turns out is a refining fire, “see, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this. How can I let myself be defamed? I will not yield my glory to another.” (Isaiah 48:10-11, NIV). In your suffering let God be your vision, in other’s suffering be their vision towards God, in a lost world be the one who reflects the Glory of God to those who have lost hope.
Beloved, we are only here for a short amount of time…from the time in utero to our time to depart. Life is but a glimpse, a brief moment and a short time to be refined. Suffering keeps us focused on what really matters and brings us back to where we should be. May we as Job know that we have not been forgotten and faithfully reply, “my ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you; therefore, I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:4-5, NIV) Suffering it turns out is the blessing. May you find peace in your suffering, may you encourage the broken hearted and hopeless and may our God Almighty use you in ways you have never even imagined.