Thinking About Suffering

Ron Reffet is a regular contributor to Believers Radio and his blog posts are redistributed here with permission.

Suffering, the very word seems to inflict discomfort, as Christians we know that it’s not a matter of if but when will it enter our lives. Either we are going through something, we’ve just come out of something, or we are about to enter into a season of suffering. I like the way Tim Keller states it in his book “Walking with God through Pain and Suffering”

“No matter what precautions we take, no matter how well we have put together a good life, no matter how hard we have worked to be healthy, wealthy, comfortable with friends and family, and successful with our career — something will inevitably ruin it.”

Our view of suffering needs to change. If we’re honest, we tend to view suffering as an interruption in our lives, disrupting the comfortable, predictable existence that we enjoy.  If we would see it more as an instrument in the hands of an ever capable surgeon, seeking to expel the infection that is causing so much trouble in our lives, namely our lack of dependence on the Lord, it may not ease the suffering but it would indeed give us a better perspective in the midst of it. This can only happen if we have been changed and have a relationship with the One who is sovereign over everything, including our suffering. 
The book of Job is a book that is ripe with suffering, we see the conversation between Satan and God in the beginning of the book, Job however did not have that luxury. As Job endures through 41 chapters of suffering and accusations from his friends, the book concludes with the seemingly silent God speaking up and Job confessing not necessarily the many “sins” that he has been accused of by his friends, but on the fact that his view of God had been too small. Job saw that the God of the universe was the One who was indeed looking over him during his time of suffering. Job also saw that this God was greater, higher and much wiser than he had imagined. 
The result of Job’s suffering, much like our own was that he saw God for who He truly was, Job 42:2 Job says, “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” Later in verse 5 Job says, ” I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you.” Like the clouds clearing after a ravaging storm, Job sees the shining face of God. His response is appropriate, in verse 6 he says, “therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” Job’s repentance is not an indication that sin brought about his suffering, much to the contrary of his friends accusations. It was because Job saw the Lord and as all suffering does, it leads us to a clearer view of who God is and also a clearer view of who we are. 
As we go through, come out of or prepare for suffering, let us not forget that nothing can pluck us from the hands of a sovereign God who is indeed over us and with us as we experience it. May it allow us to have a clearer view of His face and to be more aware of the presence of the One who endured great suffering on our behalf so that after our journey here, we will put these momentary trials aside and as Job before us, enter into the greatest worship service ever! 

Source: Think On These Things