A poor night’s sleep. The stress of moving. The aches and pains of growing older. Things not going the way I’d hoped they would. My typical reaction to such inconveniences? Frustration, a short temper, and yes, maybe even some complaining.
How my modern-day “suffering” pales in comparison to the ancient struggle of Job! In a single day, Job lost all that he had. Raiders carried off his flocks and killed his servants; a storm took the lives of all of his children en masse. Shortly after that, Job was afflicted with “painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head (Job 2:7).” Totally incapacitated, Job sat in the dust and mourned his losses. “Friends” gathered around him, only to accuse him of harboring some secret sin that resulted in his catastrophic circumstances. Everyone else gave him a wide berth, revolted by his very appearance. Job maintained his innocence. He wept, he expressed frustration at God’s silence, and yes, he even complained. But in the midst of his unrelieved suffering, Job boldly proclaimed his hope: “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God (Job 19:25-26).” My heart swelled in song this week as I read these familiar words from a favorite hymn of childhood. How much more meaningful to read them in the context in which they were written! Job lost everything except for his life and his wife, yet his faith in the Living God, his Redeemer, stood firm and carried him through the storm.
I cannot help but put myself in Job’s position, to imagine the depth of his despair. My heart is wrenched at the thought of losing my three precious children; anxiety rises within at the prospect of impoverishment; I dread the possibility of being struck with a debilitating disease. And I wonder…if these challenges ever came to pass, would I, who tend to complain at even the slightest inconvenience, come to the same bottom line as Job? Would I stand and boldly proclaim that, no matter my life circumstances, my faith and hope are anchored firmly in Jesus Christ, my Living Redeemer? Would I see beyond the temporary suffering to the ultimate pain-free, sin-free physical resurrection promised to those who place their faith in Him (1 Thess. 4:15-16, Rev. 21:3-4)?
Oh Lord, forgive me for my petty complaints. Help me to live my life firmly anchored in You, always keeping an eye on the glorious future You have planned for Your people.
Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:3-4