Dealing with Pain and Suffering
We all at one time or another experience pain and suffering or know someone very close who is going through. My wife and I followed the updates of a family friend of ours, whose youngest son died not long ago. He had battled cancer for about four years. He suffered a lot during that time, the family when through suffering and pain and still dealing with the grieving aspect of losing a loved one. Pain and suffering is real. We are not exempt from it, sooner or later you will have to deal with it, if you are not already. You read about it, you watch it on the news, you experience. Pain and suffering is part of our world, it is all around us.
It is in these moments that we ask questions like: Why me, why now? Have you ever asked God these questions? God where are you? Why do I feel you have forgotten me?
We cannot minimize the reality of pain and suffering in this world. We live in a fallen world and will have to deal with pain and suffering. Pain and suffering are the result of a broken, fallen world. This world may be beautiful, but it is not paradise; it is cursed. And Pain and suffering remind us of this.
What does God’s word say about suffering? There is entire book in the Bible dedicated to the issue of pain and suffering. There was a man who truly experienced pain and suffered a lot. He didn’t suffer because he made bad choices; bad things happened to him for no reason at all. Just like you see in our world, bad things happen to good people. This is the type of suffering that makes us ask God why?
Job.1:1 His story.
Job is described as a man who was blameless, upright. God-fearing. He turned away from evil.
He was very rich, He was the greatest man among the people of the East. (1:3)
God’s view of Job (v.8) There is no one like him, blameless and upright.
Satan challenged God; (Job worships you because you have blessed him; take his blessings away and he would curse you). He tells God that if he took everything away, Job would curse him. God allowed Satan to destroy Job’s possession. In one day he lost everything he had, even his children. How did Job deal with this?
(1:20-21) He fell to the ground and worshiped.
The LORD has given and has taken away, may his name be praised
Job didn’t sin by charging God with wrongdoing (by blaming God)
Job later on was afflicted with painful sores from head to toe. He took a piece of broken pottery to scrape himself and find release. He was in agony, this was an intense pain he went through. Even his own wife turned against him, “are you still going to hold on to your integrity? Curse God and die” (2:9). Job’s response to his wife. (2:10) But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. NASB
Job had an eternal perspective.
a) Job knew that regardless of what he was going through, God is in control. The LORD gave, the LORD took away. Shall we receive good and not bad things from God?
Job knew that God has caused this ordeal or had allowed. He still maintained his faith in God, even in pain, even when he didn’t understand why those things were happening. Job chose to worship God; he knew that God ultimately was in control.
b) Job was content with whatever happened to him. (Shall we receive good and not evil things). There is someone else in the Bible that said that he learned to be content in every situation because of the strength he gets from the LORD.
Job didn’t ask why God? Why me? There are many people in the Bible who got angry at God when they didn’t understand why things were happening; God can handle your anger, your frustrations and disappoint me. He is still in control and he is God and not us. Job felt in anguish and thought God was denying him justice. Job got fed up listening to his friends and he said, he would plead his case before God. 38 God answered Job. Embrace yourself like a man, I will question you, and you shall answer me. Where were you when I lay the foundation of the earth? Tell me if you understand. Job just humbled himself and said: I am unworthy-how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I said enough.
When bad things happen to you and they will happen if they are not already. Are you going to be a “Why me” type of person or a “what’s next” individual?
When it comes to pain and suffering we must learn that there is hope of redemption.
Job’s responded to his friends who tried to help him with counsel, but it didn’t help Job, they just made him angry. Job 19: 25-26 I know my redeemer lives……and after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God.
Job didn’t know God would restore his possessions here. But he was still had the faith that his redeemer lives.
Despite living in a fallen world, full of pain and suffering, there is hope of redemption.
In Revelation 21:4 we are promised that Jesus will one day wipe away our tears and pain and suffering will once and for all be eliminated in the new world. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Pain and suffering won’t be forever, they will be eliminated when our King comes and establishes his reign. This perspective kept Job from cursing God; this perspective kept Paul going in the midst of suffering.
Rom. 8:17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Rom.8:18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.
How are you going to deal with your suffering? An eternal perspective is necessary. Are you going to be a “why me” person or a “what’s next God” individual?