Suffering. We’re all acquainted with it in some form. It is acute to anyone who’s humanity began in Eden, the perfection we were made for and will never experience in this life. Death, disease, neglect, poverty, these things simply were not, but now they are and there’s no escaping them. That does not mean, however, that they are not meant for the here and now. God allowed Job, his righteous servant unlike any other living at the time, to be tested, tried, burned through a crucible and purified with suffering. Why, you ask? For love.
Last week, we had the privilege to get away from the work, the bustle, the stressors we don’t even realize we live with until we leave, to be together as a team. Rev Dave Eby opened the book of Job for us and we were blessed. He talked about Job’s 3-step assault: external, bodily and prolonged sufferings. He reminded us that it was God who was and is sovereign over every one of Satan’s moves. Satan had to ask for permission to touch Job. It was God who let it happen, even drew Satan’s attention to Job. Why, you ask? For love.
God is not our enemy or an ineffectual ethereal deity condemned only to reaction rather than action. He is all powerful, all sovereign, all loving, all good. As a loving father, he brings suffering into our lives to perfect us, to draw us nearer to Him, to open our eyes to His majestic grace. Are not these truths better than material comforts?
He is a God of contrasts. Light and darkness. Hate and love. Beauty and ugliness. What would the good be without the contrast of the evil? Would beauty be as resplendent without the juxtaposed hideousness? Would a true abiding love be as incredible without the daily witness of hate? Would grace have any meaning without the blackness of sin? Would we know God’s depths if we had never been banished from Eden? Even now we know them only dimly.
The battle for our hearts is real. It is fought on all fronts, outside your body, in your flesh, in your mind, in your relationships. It is a war, but the only casualties are those who do not cling to the Redeemer who created this time and place, this strange kaleidoscope of blessings and trials, to best reveal His love and salvation. Did you catch that? Our all-knowing God decided this was the best way to give Himself glory and us enjoyment. So He continues to patiently, kindly, methodically, burn away our dross and draw us into purer, closer communion with Him. Why, you ask? For love of you.