by Cindy Bleuler Tucker
The loss of wealth, possessions, and his precious children did not cause Job to lose his faith in God. Satan then takes Job’s health and strikes him with horrible sores from head to feet. As he suffers, his wife is unsupportive and tells Job “curse God, and die.” He tells his wife, “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?”(vs. 10b) Matthew Henry comments, “Shall, we, guilty, polluted, worthless creatures, receive so many unmerited blessings from a just and holy God, and shall we refuse to accept the punishment of our sins, when we suffer so much less than we deserve?”
Sometimes when we suffer, it is not because of a consequence of our sin but for another purpose. In John 9, Jesus and his disciples passed a man blind from birth. The disciples asked Jesus who had sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind. It was a commonly held belief that any sickness or disability was a result of personal sin. However, in this case there was a greater purpose. Jesus stated, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God may be displayed in him.” Jesus heals the man miraculously and throughout the ages this has been a testimony to the power of Christ.
Job himself is a great testament of faith in the midst of suffering. The greatest example is Christ, who was sinless yet suffered greatly for the good of all God’s people. Because of His great suffering, He totally understands and cares about the hard times we go through. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.(Hebrews 4:15) When we suffer, we learn lessons that will help us comfort others. As God comforts us “in all our afflictions, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort which we ourselves are comforted by God” (1st Corinthians 1:4).
Perhaps the greatest privilege that Job had in his suffering, and we too have, is that in our suffering we share in the suffering that Christ endured. “…but rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ…” (1st Peter 4:13a). We are told that we will share in His suffering, but we will also share in His glory. “And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you, and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.(1st Peter 5:10).”
May God give us the strength to endure suffering in such a way that brings glory to Him and encourages their faith, just as Job has been an example of faith for many.