Suffering is Mandatory
It was bound to happen. Yep, I've succumbed and have finally come down with The Crud. You know, that scratchy throat, blocked sinuses, and a feeling of lethargy and pain throughout the entire body. Is this the flu? I don't know. I don't care. It is what it is, and I'm miserable.
I want to whine.
I want to complain.
I want to convince anyone around me that my life right now is miserable.
I'm learning as I study the book of Job. Job suffered. Greatly. And, what good is it to study if you won't apply the wisdom to your own life.
Following are some of the thoughts I've written for an upcoming study booklet on Job. I estimate the study will be available by late summer or early fall of 2018:
If we compare the experiences of those around us, it may appear as if one person’s life is a smooth sailing adventure, yet another suffers under a constant bombardment of trouble and grief. However, if we could take a look inside, we’d see that every single person suffers in some way.
It’s a given. From the time you were formed in your mother’s womb until you take your very last breath on the earth, one thing is certain, at some point you and I will suffer.
Scripture tells us that this is so, and I can easily look around me and see it is so. We. Will. Suffer.
As I continue studying the life of Job, I pray that my suffering and yours will not go to the extent of Job’s. Before the story even gets started, he has lost his wealth, then his loved ones, and finally his health. He has lost everything except his cranky wife. As irritable as she is, I’ve wondered if it would’ve been a bit better for Job to be left with a cow or two in place of her.
No, we cannot predict what form our sufferings may take, but we can know that we will see trouble. It’s not an “if,” it’s a “when.” It’s promised; it’s a guarantee.
Jesus assures us of two things—we will have trouble, and He will give us peace as we go through our trials.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart!
I have overcome the world.” (John 16:22)
And, while suffering in this life is unavoidable, doing it alone is not. The Lord assures us that he will be with us through those difficult times.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.” (Isaiah 43:2)
It’s clear to me these verses are not referring to the fun of jumping in puddles and sitting around a cozy campfire. These are serious troubles—waters, rivers, fire and flames.
A question that keeps rolling around in my mind is this: Would I rather have no suffering or a deeper relationship with my Lord?
I’ll embrace the suffering to have that deeper relationship. I’ll take the “troubles [that achieve] for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all (2 Corinthians 4:17).
Oh yes, I choose that eternal life with Jesus Christ my Lord. Being with him is worth everything.