Daily Devotional – May 16
Few people in history have suffered as dramatically as Job. In a brief period of time, he lost his enormous wealth, his stature/fame/prestige, and every one of his ten children, and he was covered with excruciatingly painful boils - causing him continuous, unstoppable agony. His only momentary relief was to scrape his skin with a piece of broken pottery so hard that his entire body became a raw, oozing sore. His closest friends could not even recognize him, and his wife’s only advice was to, “Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9). Yet in the face of such monumental suffering, Job correctly acknowledges this reality: “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”(Job 2:10 NIV).
How a loving God can allow human suffering has been a central question throughout the ages – especially when we are the ones in anguish. Every human being stands sinful before God, and we deserve death for our rebellion. Yet, God took the penalty of death upon Himself in an act of unconditional, sacrificial love. While God sees the big picture and what the future holds, we constantly turn from Him in self-centered desires. Physical death exists as the only possible door for believers to come back into fellowship with God. But how could we die if disease and sickness did not exist? How could we help and empathize with others if nothing “bad” ever happened to us? How could we truly appreciate the blessings of God if we never experience the removal of these blessings? God understands suffering and knows what is best for us. It is through the tough times that we draw closest to him.
Job repeatedly acknowledged that God was both aware of his pain and was allowing him to experience it. In a classic and prophetic statement, Job declared, “I know that my redeemer lives.” (Job 19:25 NKJ). Yet, Job cried out for an explanation of why he was going through such anguish. In the end, God did answer this question. Throughout four chapters of Scripture, in the longest recorded monolog from God to mankind, God explains His majesty, power, understanding and control over all things to Job and each one of us. Jesus Himself stated as fact, “In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33 NIV) When you are suffering, concentrate on the height of God’s majesty - not the depth of your sorrows. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.
In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
~ John 16:33