“Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.”
Job 1:20-22 ESV
This was Job’s response to losing his 10 children and all that he owned.
“But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”
Job 2:10 ESV
This was Job’s response to being struck with horrible boils that covered his whole body.
I remember reading Job’s response to suffering right after going through a trial and suffering a bit of my own. Reading how Job worshipped the Lord and didn’t accuse Him of evil was far different than how I responded. I was ashamed when I compared my response to (lesser) suffering to Job’s (greater) suffering. As Asaph admitted in Psalm 73, I too was a beast toward God (Ps. 73:22). I accused God so frequently I have to imagine Satan was able to take a break. And when God didn’t hasten to answer my prayers and thus release me from the same trial, I ignored God. I figured,” well since He is ignoring my prayers, I will return the favor.”
By ignoring the communion of prayer and the Word which is the sword of the Spirit, I neglected all hope of fighting the good fight of faith.
I realized that I have need of spiritual fortitude. I also realized that though I would scoff at someone else’s belief in the “prosperity gospel”, my reaction seemed to reflect that I believed being a Christ follower would exempt me of hardships.
More recently I went through a trial where I did absolutely struggle to believe in the wisdom and goodness of God. Yet, I struggled with God rather than apart from Him.
I clung to God. I looked to His Word. I fought to believe what I know already to be true. That God is good and that He is most wise.
“For the Lord will not cast off forever, but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love; for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men.”
Lamentations 3:31-33 ESV
I kept coming to the Scripture above, that spoke a better word to my heart. It showed me the goodness and tenderness of my God in black and white.
God isn’t far off in our trials. He only seems far off if we neglect to seek Him. God isn’t rejoicing in our lamenting. God cares for us. And wants the best for us (Hebrews 12:10).
To bless the God whom we know could halt or prevent our suffering is not an easy task. But it is a worthy one.
Dear suffering one, go to the throne of mercy! Pray that you may bless God in your trial and rejoice in your suffering. Pray that God may extend His sufficient grace so that you may persevere. Pray that He may give you a song in the night (Job 35:10). Go to the Word to see what Christ has won for you. Go to the Word and be reminded that this trial-permitting and ordaining God careth for you. Be strong in the strength of His might (Eph. 6:10).
If we but look forward to heaven, an eternity without worry or woe in our suffering, that is God making good. If we but treasure Christ a bit more than we did before, that is God making good. If we are a bit more tender and merciful, like our God, He indeed is making good. God is always up to good, even in our trials.
Take heart suffering one, Christ has overcome the world.