“They abhor me, they flee far from me, and spare not to spit in my face.” Job 30:10
Suffering is not an abstract theory. It’s real and it’s hard. If you are familiar with Job’s story you will remember that he lost his wealth, his 10 children, his health, and the good opinion of his friends who sought to advise him. Reading further into the book, chapter 30 records how that he even lost the respect of people in his community. A man who had once been admired and honored was now an object for ridicule.
No one is exempt from suffering, including followers of Christ. Our tendency in suffering is to focus only on what we’re losing, or on the weight of our difficulties. This is natural because suffering can mean pain, loneliness, and unanswered questions. But we as believers should also remind ourselves that there is much that we can never lose. If we are in Christ, forgiven and accepted with our Father, that is a rich condition which cannot be taken away. The promises of God to us will never be revoked. The hope of glory is solid and certain. Access to the throne of grace is still open. God’s love and mercy are from everlasting to everlasting. God’s commitment to keep working in our hearts, guarding and nurturing our spiritual life is still in effect. Those things that are most valuable are also the most durable.
But, even though suffering inevitably brings some loss and adversity, God also can make us to gain through our sufferings. This is not said tritely or to minimize the difficulty of suffering. But, God is so great that it’s true. Job lost much, but he also gained a sight of God’s majesty that he wouldn’t have gained without walking thru the suffering. Christ once suffered for us, but it was only for a little while, after which He was brought to glory. Our sufferings are like His, temporary, but followed by glory. Take heart, suffering saint. In Christ, ultimately you cannot lose, and He will make you to gain now and forever.
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