Job 40:1-8; 42:1-6
Bible Studies for Life, Feb. 2
God’s actions are often beyond our understanding, but we can trust Him.
All forms of pain, when going through an ordeal, is a blow to one’s physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual life. At times, it can even be a combination of all the above mentioned. We read in Hebrews 12:11 “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
Of course, the pain that Job was enduring came about through a test that was placed over his life. At the onset of the book of Job we read that he was “blameless and upright.” So then, why did he have to suffer, and what is God’s answer to the suffering Job went through, and what is God’s answer for us today?
Suffering brings about change
As stated earlier, the Bible declares that Job was “blameless and upright.” With that said, Job could pack up his bags and head into eternity like Enoch or Elijah and walk directly into heaven. However, this was not the case, and Job still had a life to live and a life to display for God’s glory.
There was indeed a change Job had to make. In chapter 40 we read a response that Job must make to one of God’s questions. The answer to it is, “Behold, I am of small account … I lay my hand on my mouth.” Job understood that he had to change, not because it was any particular sin that had brought about all of the calamities on his family, but because a perfect God had revealed to Job that he still needed to change.
No one likes “change”, but it is often in the middle of our suffering that change occurs. A rare disease known as Congenital insensitivity to pain (CIP) can be lethal to those that have it. Without the ability to feel pain, a person can cause serious injury to themselves without knowing it. God, therefore, allows suffering for change to be a part of our lives, a change that makes us more like Jesus.
Suffering brings about commitment
It was time for Job to not only change, but to make a commitment to God like never before. God tells Job in 40:7, “Dress for action like a man.” It was time for Job to make a renewed commitment to his desire to glorify God.
The world has a cliché that declares “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” But for the believer in Christ, it goes beyond that. God does allow suffering, and God often uses that suffering to make us more like Jesus, but it cannot stop there.
A commitment to Christ must be the end goal. In other words, a commitment to know Him more, believe in Him more, and glorify Him more. The answer to suffering doesn’t imply running away from God, but rather, running to Him and committing to Him on a deeper level.
Job indeed knew God prior to the tribulation that he suffered. but by the end of his story, Job had a renewed commitment the God who had created him.
Suffering brings about a challenge
God had declared in Job 1:8 that “there is none like him on the earth ….” But another answer to suffering is that it brings about a challenge in our lives. Job needed to be challenged.
God had testified that there was “non like him on the earth.” What more could be said? Suffering keeps us humble; it keeps us looking up to God. It was not good enough that on earth non were like him, compared to the God of heaven he was nothing.
Suffering challenges us to look deep within ourselves and find that we are nothing. Suffering challenges us to keep looking to the Almighty even when we do not understand all that we are facing. Like Jesus said in Luke 9:23, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
At the end of it all Job has been changed, and he has made a commitment to God But he is now challenged to keep moving forward. “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear. Bu now my eye sees you (Job 42:5).” Suffering brings about a challenge to know Him more and more.
So, when suffering hits us in our most vulnerable areas of life, we should understand that God’s answer to our suffering is that it brings about change, commitment, and a challenge.
Suffering allows us to make changes that will make us more like Jesus. Suffering will encourage us to make a recommitment to the one who made us. Finally, suffering will challenge us to know God on a deeper level.