Doing Life Together

holzfigur-980784_1920Persevere: Not a word we hear often. But it is especially important in the face of suffering. And most of us have experienced some suffering in our lives. Whether it is a troubled child, a conflictual marriage, a chronic illness or difficult boss, troubles bring up the opportunity to trust and become nearer to God. Our communication intensifies, presenting an opportunity to draw closer to God.

The biblical story of Job teaches us much about the nature of suffering. First, we see that righteous and blessed people suffer. Satan argued that it was easy for someone to love God when he is blessed, but take those blessings away and make him suffer, well.. let’s see how your servant Job fares. This was a test of perseverance in the face of suffering.  Job lost everything, but persevered.

And here is what I love about the story. Job reacted in a very human way. He cried, complained and argued with God. He tore his robe, shaved his head, fell to ground. He felt all this emotion and yet never renounced God. He proved that He didn’t serve God for the things God gave him. Blessed be the name of the Lord who gives and takes away.

Then Satan tries again. This time he brings physical illness on Job. His grief-stricken wife urges Job to curse God and die. Job’s friend joined in and began to attack Job, telling him to repent and accusing him of self-righteousness. Though all of this, Job perseveres.

Job lost his wealth, his family, his possessions, his health and even his friendships, and yet he stayed true to his faith. He refused to renounce God. He proclaims, “I know my Redeemer lives.” He is confident that one day, he will see God despite his earthly afflictions.

Through  suffering, Job becomes profoundly humble and recognizes that God can do all things. He acknowledges that there is so much he doesn’t understand. He gains perspective on the Lord’s greatness. And his spiritual blessings are many. He experiences God in a way he had never done before.

Whatever you are going through, persevere. Hold on to hope. Your Redeemer lives.

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