In the book of Job we read the account of his life and suffering, resulting from his godly testimony. The very first chapter gives a very good picture of the life and character of Job. In this chapter his losses were overwhelming, but the chapter closed out in verse 22 stating, “In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.” In fact, in verse 20 and 21 it says he fell to the ground worshiped and spoke of the blessedness of God’s name. In chapter two Job’s health was severely attacked with sores from his head to his toe. The pain had to be overwhelming, and yet at the end of verse 10 it states, “In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” Job’s suffering was not the result of sin in his life but the cruel desire of Satan attempting to prove that Job followed God only because of His blessings. Satan, as always, was wrong.
Suffering is not necessarily a word used to encourage those who do not know Christ as Savior to come to Him. Many people are already suffering for a host of reasons: consequences of bad choices, unhealthy living, and situations not even of their own making. Inviting them to come to Jesus, and informing them that doing so may bring suffering, does not seem like an attractive invitation. But this invitation is exactly the invitation that Jesus spoke to those who would followed Him. Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24 ESV….. And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34 ESV When Jesus spoke to Ananias telling him to go to Paul after Paul’s Damascus road encounter, Jesus told Ananias concerning Paul, these words. “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must SUFFER FORTHE SAKE OF MY NAME. Acts 9: 15-16 ESV
I believe there is one of two reasons a person suffers: because of sin which is the mother of all suffering, or for the purpose of bringing God glory. The reality is that very few, if any, will travel for any length of time through life and not experience some type of suffering, or at the very least witness it in the life of another. Even God, who became flesh, being totally God yet totally man, experienced much human suffering. Isaiah 53:3 described the coming Savior of the world like this. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. War causes much suffering, and there has been a war from the garden of Eden to this present day. The battle ground from where this war is raged is …your life. Who is the enemy? Satan. Part of his strategy in this war is attempting to convince you that God, not him, is your enemy. Satan tries to convince man that God is the author of suffering, not Satan himself. Some would call it psychological warfare, and they would be correct. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 ESV However, be encouraged, for the battle has been won and suffering will one day be no more. Jesus, God’s only Son, has conquered death / suffering and is in the process of freeing those who have been imprisoned by Satan. In this process let us focus on two points.
IT WAS MADE POSSIBLE BY JESUS
Jesus suffered for us and took the penalty of our sin. It was foretold in Isiah 53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. (ESV) It was remembered in 1 Peter 2:24 ESV…. By his wounds you have been healed.
SUFFERING IN THIS WORLD DOES NOT COMPARE
The suffering you experience now is nothing compared to the joy of being in His presence for ever. For I consider the suffering of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. Romans 8:18 ESV
Let me close with these thoughts from scripture.
For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil. 1 Peter 3:18 ESV
Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. 1 Peter 4:16 ESV
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8 :28 ESV
Because of His Grace ~ Pastor David