Suffering: Job Keeps Worshiping God
Submitted by Jennifer Power
Job is one of my favorite books in the Bible. Crazy, right?
I used to be afraid of the book. Afraid that if I read it or studied it, that God was going to use that to prepare me for disaster.
Suffering is a real part of life. We all know this, and none of us can escape it. The Bible says we shouldn’t try to escape suffering. We should instead rejoice, count it joy, be content, remain steadfast, take heart, not be surprised, not lose heart, trust God, and remember that He is with us.
Trying to avoid suffering is fairly pointless. Jesus taught us that worrying does not benefit us in the least. Living a safe life, is not actually a good plan, and all our efforts to protect ourselves from the harsh realities of the world will either prove pointless or will leave us devoid of true life.
It is a bit silly to avoid Job on fear that God is preparing us for a particular seasoning of suffering. It is not as if God is going to keep us from suffering because we ignored the topic. Suffering will come when it comes. “For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). Suffering will visit us all, and more so on followers of Christ as He has called us to share in His suffering. Romans 8:17 makes suffering a prerequisite to being co-heirs with Christ.
The question asked of Job throughout his suffering was one of worship. Would Job remain faithful in his worship of the Lord if everything good was taken from him or would he curse God and hope to die? Was his faithfulness to the Lord contingent upon God’s gifts? Just how deep did his worship run?
More than 10 years ago, the Lord asked me these questions. Was my love of God contingent on Him keeping my family safe? Of Him keeping me from terror? Did it run deep enough to stand firm even if everything I feared came to pass? (Job 3:25)
These questions began a turning point from a life of fear to a life of love and trust. Something amazing happened to me more than 10 years ago as I considered whether or not my love ran deep enough to withstand nightmares.
Something amazing happened to me as I surrendered the entirety of my life and the care of my family into the hands of God:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
My life these past 10 years has not been free from fear, but neither has it been ruled by fear. There are seasons of my life when I must surrender again myself and all whom I love into God’s loving and good hands, and I am attempting these days to make it a daily practice.
This week, at SPL Kids, the elementary kids are considering the life of Job. They are considering his suffering, his struggle, his worship, his questions, his lack of answers, God’s love, and his healing.
There is a life hidden in Christ which finds peace in the unspeakable. A life that worships God, embraces suffering as an avenue of grace, and experiences peace which cannot be explained.
My prayer for you, and my prayer for the kids who study Job this week is that God’s love will get down deep into our hearts. I pray, as we consider the suffering of the world and our own suffering, that our trust in God will be so rooted in His love for us that this light dispels all the darkness of anxiety and fear and sadness.
Dear families of God, be at peace today. Know down into your depths that God is good and that He is with you. Tell your children He is with them. Ask God to help you model a life of trust, not fear, for your children to follow. Worship God through the good and the bad. Seek Him first, last and in every moment in between. Rest in His love. Let Him carry your burdens.
I challenge you to read the book of Job this week, and to do so with an open heart to what the Lord would teach you through this man of God who, through his despair, agony, and suffering, through his angry questions and hounding friends worshiped God in his emptiness. He did not get his answers, and perhaps this comforts me more than the rest of the book.
Answers are not the answer. God is the only remedy – the only hope.
Don’t be afraid beloved, the God who is the answer is good, and He loves you more than the entirety of His created world.
Rest in His love.
I am so excited to return to a season of blogging! I have missed sharing with you all in this way. God has provided me with the time to begin again, and so I am doing so with a thankful heart.
Each week, I will write on something related to what the children are studying in their time together during SPL Kids.
We are currently studying through the Old Testament but will take a break and dive into the Advent stories in that season.
Many scholars believe Job lived sometime between Noah and Moses. Next week, we will look at prayer, Joseph (Jacob’s son), and a life with God.
Listen with me! As wrote this blog today, I listened to this song again and again. I pray it blesses you.