Friday, March 15, 2013

Suffering

I've been spending a fair amount of time in the book of Job lately.  

It isn't the lightest book to read.  It's not exactly the "feel good" good book of the Bible.  In fact at times it can be kind of hard to stomach.  It's hard to sit by and keep reading as Job loses everything, EVERYTHING!!  

It's not that I don't get what is going on. I get it.  

And it's not that I doubt what God is doing.  I know that even in this story God is in complete control.  He is the one who sets the boundaries for Satan.  And it's important to recognize that Satan never steps outside of those boundaries.  He isn't able to, even he cannot do anything outside of God's ultimate control.  It's just really hard to watch.  It is always hard to watch someone suffer.

Whether it is someone who lived 3000 years ago or a loved one you see everyday, suffering is hard.  It's hard to experience it, it is hard to understand it, and it is hard to watch.  It's just hard.  

I remember telling my friend years ago, after Erik's dad and sister passed away within 2 years of each other, that I no longer worried when Erik traveled.  There is no way God would take Erik away from his mother after she had already lost so much.  My friend gently reminded me about Job.  Sometimes people suffer.  Greatly.

As it stands right now, Erik is fine and safe.  The family has been tragedy free for over 3 years now.  And I still really don't worry when he travels.  But I know that right now, other people are suffering.  It seems like everywhere I turn people are struggling with BIG stuff.  There is suffering all around.

The one thing that I noticed about Job is that as devastated as he was through all his suffering, he never cursed God.  He cursed himself, the day of his birth, his friends, and a few other things.  But he did not curse God.  He questioned Him, he asked for understanding, for mercy and for healing.  But he didn't curse him.  He praised him, even in the storm.  And I wonder if I would be able to do that.

I pray desperately that I would never know the type of suffering that Job endured.  I have no desire to walk through the fire like that.  But I know people suffer and I can't help by wonder what I would do.  I have lost things in my life, I have lost babies, I have lost money, I have lost loved ones, long before I felt like it was there time.  There is plenty I have lost.  I would like to think that I have honored God in my suffering.  But honestly, I have never suffered like Job.