This past Sunday night I read the book of Job again. Here are 10 statements on suffering I gleaned from that reading, with wisdom and inspiration from Eugene Peterson’s commentary.
Suffering can come just as much on the committed saint as from the consequences of the sinner.
Suffering reminds us that we grow closer to God far more from burden than blessings, from the life lived in the valley than up on the mountaintop.
Suffering is Satan’s invitation to rebel from God but God’s invitation to run to Him.
Suffering will bring questions that only God can answer so He must be the primary One we talk to in the midst.
Suffering creates the opportunity to store up empathy rather than hand out sympathy.
Suffering can produce compassion in us, or condemnation from us.
Suffering should invite prayers for, not proclamations toward.
Suffering is a place where Satan has been at work but God is now at work and will continue to be.
Suffering needs more warmth and less words.
Suffering needs an encounter, not an explanation.
Job answered God: “I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything. Nothing and no one can upset your plans. You asked, ‘Who is this muddying the water, ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?’ I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me, made small talk about wonders way over my head. You told me, ‘Listen, and let me do the talking. Let me ask the questions. You give the answers.’ I admit I once lived by rumors of you; now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears! I’m sorry—forgive me. I’ll never do that again, I promise! I’ll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.” —Job 42:1-6 MSG