If God loves His children, why does He let us go through circumstances that we would never wish upon our worst enemy?
It’s hard not to take it personally when God allows us to go through suffering and pain, and it’s hard not to place blame or look for answers.
Naturally the book of Job comes to mind when I feel like I am going through inexplicable trials. Here was a man who was “blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil” (Job 1:1). But we all know the story of Job: he literally lost all his children, his wealth and his health in a matter of days. He went from being one of the most respected men in the land of Uz to one of the most pitied.
As we ponder Job’s troubles, how do we explain our own? Difficulties that were beyond our imaginations are now being lived out in real-time. What’s the point of all this suffering?
While Job was experiencing this unimaginable misery, no one in the story knew about a conversation that had taken place in heaven:
Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? No one else on earth is like him. He is an honest and innocent man, honoring God and staying away from evil.”
But Satan answered the LORD, “Job honors God for a good reason. You have put a wall around him, his family, and everything he owns. You have blessed the things he has done. His flocks and herds are so large they almost cover the land. But reach out your hand and destroy everything he has, and he will curse you to your face.”
The LORD said to Satan, “All right, then. Everything Job has is in your power, but you must not touch Job himself.” (Job 1:8-12)
Is this how God honors His children? God himself had just finished testifying of Job’s virtues, but in the next minute he hands Job over to Satan to prove his faith.
Just like Job, your pain has a purpose. Your problems, your struggles, heartaches and stresses collaborate towards one end – the glory of God.
Trust me in your times of trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory. (Psalm 50:15)
This is not an easy task to accept. Not for Job. Not for you or myself.
I recently wrote about the man who was born blind in John 9. The disciples wanted to know who had sinned that the man had to suffer blindness from birth. Was it him? Was it his parents?
Jesus was quick to remind them not to search the family tree looking for blame. The man was born blind so that the “works of God might be displayed in him.” I’ll bet the blind man would have preferred another role in the drama that would unfold to display God’s glory. Compared to other people, his assignment held no glamour.
Another example is Lazarus. Lazarus and his sisters were personal friends of Jesus. He stayed with them and ate with them, and when Lazarus got sick, Mary and Martha got a message to Jesus immediately. If Jesus would heal anyone, it would be Lazarus.
“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that he was sick, He then stayed two days longer in the place where He was.” (John 11:5-6)
Instead of rushing to his bedside, Jesus took his time. He lingered where he was UNTIL Lazarus died (notice the first part of the verse) because Jesus loved them. See? Lazarus was sick for the sake of God. Job was stripped of everything but his life for the sake of God. John 11:14 tells us that Jesus knew that this sickness was ultimately for the glory of God.
If you are going through grief or misery today, is there any chance that you have been selected to display the glory of God through your struggle? Have you been given the opportunity to suffer for His sake?
When you think that God is not listening, He is. He just may have bigger plans for your circumstance.
Are others strengthened by your struggles? Do you realize that this problem has very little to do with you, but is rather a chance to demonstrate God’s glory? In being given these problems, you have not failed God, and God is not failing you. It’s difficult to see our issues in the huge scope of God’s sovereign plan, but this perspective makes all the difference.
If you’re going through a struggle today, choose to glorify God. Is God allowing you to suffer so that you can suffer in such a way that one person that doesn’t know God can know Him? We know the value that God places on one human soul, and it wouldn’t be shocking if that WAS the reason.
If the Lord is calling you to a season of suffering today, remember that it is worth the reward.
Through Job’s struggle, God was seen. Through Lazarus’s struggle, God was seen. Through the blind man’s struggle, God was seen.
I encourage you to let Him be seen through yours as well.