Job and Suffering
The Book of Job illustrates different solutions to suffering:
- The "older brother" solution illustrated by Job’s “miserable comforters”
- The "younger brother" solution illustrated by Job’s wife
- The Gospel solution displayed in Job.
The "older brother" approach is to either hate God (for not giving us what we think we have earned) or to hate ourselves (for not living up to the moral standard that would have ensured that God would not punish us.) Job’s “miserable comforters” were sure Job had sinned, or else he would not have been suffering.
The younger brother way is to reject God, to go our own way, as Job’s wife advised, to “Curse God and die.”
The Gospel approach may mean struggling, yet inevitably surrendering, for we know God is our only hope and we know God is good. (We see this so clearly in our own lives with our son Chris.) We know we deserve punishment, yet we also know that punishment was paid in full at the cross—so we are not being punished. "IT IS FINISHED," He cried. (So let it be!)
We know also that suffering is inevitable in this life, but for the Christian, it is only temporary. Job, the disciples, and Jesus Himself all suffered greatly in this life—but it was temporary. So we will never curse God, but look forward to the day when all tears are wiped away, death and sin are vanquished, and sorrow is turned to unimaginable joy.