By: Gabriela Yareliz
I have begun studying the book of Job, with the worldwide church. According to Jewish scholars, there are some things that we can take away from the book of Job:
1. The fact that a person suffers does not mean that he or she has done anything to deserve the suffering. Thinking in these terms can cause one to misjudge the character of the person who is suffering or the character of God.
2. The reason for suffering, if there is any, is not something that can be understood by a human, finite mind.
3. The one who causes the what-seems-like baseless suffering is the devil, himself. He shows up and wreaks havoc. But the book is not about the havoc done by the devil. The devil comes and destroys. That is only the first two chapters. The book is about a God who is present throughout. A God working to turn everything around. A God determined to restore Job’s soul.
4. I believe it’s the book of Romans that declares God’s majesty in a powerful way, stating that God owes nothing to anyone; who has been His counselor? And yet the God who owed us nothing, who hung the stars, gave Himself for us, as a gift.
5. The apostle Paul reminds us that our suffering is nothing; a drop in eternity, compared to the glory that will be revealed in us. The gift of eternal life. Everything we were created for.
The book of Job presents an incredible humility that I think comes to us in our most broken state. Once we are past the anger, pain, hurt, questions of justice– once we are past all of that, we are left kneeling before the Creator of the universe. We realize that He who holds the universe can certainly hold us through our moment of difficulty. That the God who may not move the mountains we ask Him to move, may be moving something much greater– our hearts.
I think it was Charles Spurgeon who said he kisses and blesses the Rock of Ages, the only Rock against which he wants to be broken.
Job, in the midst of his pain and loss, acknowledged God’s sovereignty and power over everything in his life. He knew who God was. Chapter 1 of the book of Job tells us he offered sacrifices to God, not only for himself, but for his children. He knew that this sacrifice was a symbol of God’s mercy and unconditional love. A love that doesn’t need to be shown through material manifestation. It’s a love that transforms us, once we become aware of it. Love that involves the shedding of blood.
While we may not be made physically whole on earth; while things may not be made just, life isn’t about things or circumstances, it’s about our souls. And our souls are made whole at the cross, where the Lamb of God completed the sacrifice all symbols pointed to in Israel, over the ages. Redemption and healing came, and that, no matter the circumstances, makes us whole again. By His wounds we are healed, the prophet Isaiah said.
We are the creation of His hands; the love of His heart. “As long as there is breath in me, […] the spirit of God is in my nostrils.” Job 27:3
One thought on “The Mystery of Suffering”
I have to believe, as part of the Divine, we are partners in what we agree to, to some extent. As a soul, however, I think we are far more ambitious than what we feel merited when we are in human body form. Translation: we sometimes overreach our capacity:). Hence, pain.