Posted by: Mark | July 9, 2010

Lessons from Job 1

This is a series and the first post is here.

Lessons from Job for when we go through trial

  1. There are things we don’t understand about suffering

Suffering is not a simple equation. Throughout this book Job’s friends try to get across their point that Job is suffering because he has sinned. This is still a common view today and I am sure has passed through each of our minds as we have seen someone suffering. Or perhaps when we watched an earthquake, typhoon, flood, or tsunami unfold in the news we have thought that God was punishing those people for sins they committed. This view doesn’t hold up from scripture. Among others these are some reasons for suffering that I can see from Job and other places in the Bible to explain why we suffer:

  • In Job we learn that suffering was for God’s purposes and His glory (Job 1.6-8, 2.1-3). We have the huge benefit of hind sight in the story of Job. We are able to see and understand the reason behind Job’s suffering but it is never revealed to Job. When we suffer we should be comforted, as Job was at the end of the book, by the fact that God is in control and He knows what he is doing.
  • Sometimes we suffer or go through trials to learn valuable lessons (James 1.2-4, Romans 5.3-5). I have heard it said many times by people as they come out the other end of a trial that they believed it was in answer to a prayer to learn more about patience or love or endurance. Sometimes the only way we can learn these things, and others, is by being in a situation where we need to exercise them fully. God is a loving God who wants us to be the fullest best people that we can be and lovingly lets us go through trials and suffering to realize this for His glory. Click here for an example of this type of suffering in someone’s life. Click here to read an article from Joni Eareckson Tada when she found out she had cancer and how she expects to learn many lessons through it.
  • Another reason I can see in scripture for suffering is for the purpose of Godly discipline (Proverbs 3.11-12, Hebrews 12.6). As humans we err and sometimes as a result we need to be disciplined as children of God. Often when I am disciplining my children I try and explain to them that I am doing this because I love them. I am doing it because I want them to remember that what they are doing is firstly a sin against God but also something that is hurting others and themselves. This discipline is often remembered the clearest through a physical trial (suffering). God as a loving Father disciplines His children.
  • A final reason for suffering is that is may be as a consequence of sin (Hebrews 6.7, Job 4.8). Sin is when we commit something that is outside God’s perfect plan for us. Sin is when we honor and worship something as greater than God. We were created as humans to worship and honor God and this is what will fulfill us and make us the happiest. When we step outside of this plan there are consequences. If we love ourselves more than others we sometimes suffer by not having friendship when we need it. When we live unhealthy lives and disrespect the body God has given us we can suffer the health consequences. When we disobey God’s law of the sanctity of sex we can rob ourselves of the precious gift inside of marriage. I started off writing this by saying that not all suffering is a result of sin – but some is.

So as a Christian if we find ourselves in a position of suffering we should examine our lives for evidence of sin to see if our suffering is a simple consequence of what we have been doing or discipline from our loving Father. But we should not stop here assuming that we are being punished for something. God has stated in the scriptures that Christians will suffer so we should expect it and rejoice in it. Above all else we should realize that God is not erring in what is happening and He is still in control. We should get to know our God so much so that we can say:

Though he slay me I will hope in Him Job 13.15a


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