I, like you, am no stranger to suffering. My mom died my senior year of high school. My sister died of breast cancer a couple years before that. She was 33. She left behind to young kids. My nephew got hit by a car and died when he was 16. There was foul play in that situation. My middle child has spent a combined several months in the hospital over his first several years of life.
When we look at the world around us, it is painfully clear that something is wrong. Evil is pervasive. Innocent people die. Poverty, crime, terrorism, exploitation, natural disasters.
When we look at our own heart, we also see evil. At the core, we are selfish and proud.
The reason for this is that we live in a fallen world.
Romans 5:12 says, “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, so death spread to everyone, because all have sinned.”
One of the best places in the Bible that digs deep into the topic of suffering is the book of Job.
Here are five observations I have about suffering that were derived from Job and other places in God’s word.
1. God initiates the conversation with Satan about Job.
Job is about to go through a tremendous test, an unfathomable time of human suffering. And it all starts with God asking the devil a question: “Have you considered my servant Job?”
God is sovereign in our suffering. He allows it to happen. Previously, Job was shielded by God. Ultimately, nothing happens to us that God doesn’t allow. This should give us peace. We can rest in Him.
2. Satan has a role in suffering.
The passage clearly indicates that Satan caused Job’s hardships. Satan’s goal was to get Job to curse God. Have you ever heard someone curse God because of their suffering? They are playing right into the agenda of the evil one.
3. Man’s explanations will always fall short.
The bulk of the book of Job is his three, then four, friends tell him that he is being punished by God. His friends should have kept quiet. Be careful what you say when you are around people who are hurting, Just be there. Be quiet, pray for them.
4. God uses suffering for the good of His children.
Job was a better man at the end of the book than at the beginning. God brought him through it. Job’s perspective turns on this phrase, “I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:6) He had a greater revelation of God and of himself because of his suffering.
5. Evil is not eternal.
Thank God for that! Something is wrong with the world. But one day, everything will be made right. This is our hope – and it is a certain hope!
Job 19:25 says, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God.”
Take heart, dear brother or sister. One day God will destroy evil.
What’s your story? How have you suffered? How has God been faithful? Please share in the comments.