ODJ: Responding to Suffering

March 29, 2017 

READ: Job 1:6-22 

In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God (v.22).

People often blame God for their suffering. In 2016, one plaintiff even filed a legal request for a restraining order against his Creator. The man, who actually appeared in court for the case, told the judge that over the past three years, God “had been very negative towards him” (no specifics were recorded).

Distraught with grief over the destruction that had decimated his household, Job—who would seem to have every right to file a restraining order against the Almighty— initially addressed his suffering differently. Feeling the full force of sorrow from unwelcomed and unexpected calamities, Job tore his robe and shaved his head—customary practices of mourning in the ancient world. Then he fell to the ground, not in despair or anger, but in submission and worship, recognising God’s sovereign right to give and take away (Job 1:20). Although Job would later bring his “case” of the unjust suffering he experienced to God (13:3,8,24), He also praised Him in the midst of his pain (1:21).

Scripture is realistic about suffering found in the world and in the lives of believers in Jesus. It’s universal and comes in various forms (Genesis 3:16-19; Job 14:1). So we shouldn’t be surprised when adversity comes. And when it does, by God’s strength may we choose to worship, bring our pain and problems to God (Psalm 73:16-17), pray (James 5:13) and believe He can provide victory (Romans 8:37).

In His mercy, God extends comfort and strength through our fellowship with other believers (1 Thessalonians 5:11), helping us to stand together displaying “one spirit and one purpose” (Philippians 1:27). Blame God? No, for He stands with us in our pain (1 Peter 2:21).

—Marvin Williams

365-day plan: 1 Samuel 18:1-30

Read Job 2:9-10, 23:13-15, 40:2 and Psalm 73:3,13 to see some wrong reactions to suffering. 
How do you feel when your life is interrupted by suffering and adversity? How do you typically respond? How will your faith in God inform your response to adversity this week?