Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Suffering of Job

I must be due a season of suffering. That's the sense I get as more and more the Lord turns my attention to passages and themes of Scripture that have some bearing on suffering. I am, by most every measure, enjoying a season of plenty and calm. So I don't know whether my suffering will come via a test in prosperity, or a change of providence delivering a stinging blow from the Father's hand.

But it seems to me that the Lord is at work, giving me resources from His word that, by His grace, will allow me to pierce the veil of suffering to see the moves of His mighty hand. Among the many things we need during suffering, it seems to me that clarity of vision is most needful. We may endure the suffering itself with grit and resolve. We may find the comforts of Christ in the presence of friends. There may be relief from pain via the common grace of medicines and the like. But all of those will have little effect if suffering occludes our view of God who sits high and looks low, who rules all things from the throne of righteousness, and in our suffering--and our comfort--overflows the banks of our life with the experience of His Son in us (2 Cor. 1:5). Lose sight of God in suffering and no amount of earthly help will in the end be any help at all, just temporary snatches of deeper insanity appearing as relief before agony resumes. The irony will be that the agony will have us closer to God and the relief farther away if in our suffering we have no view of God.

Today I began listening to Mark Dever's sermon series on Job entitled "Losing Everything?". I highly recommend the first sermon in the series, "Job's Trials." I don't think I've heard Mark any better than he was in this sermon.

1--Job's Trials (Job 1-2)

2--Job's Questions (Job 3)

3--Job's Friends (Job 4-37; it would be just like Mark to sneak in a sermon whose text is 34 chapters long!)

4--Job's God (Job 38-42)

1 comment:

JNH said...

Thabiti, as long as you're on Job, may I suggest a quick read through The Storm Breaks or doing your devotions for a month with Mining for Wisdom? (both from Derek Thomas; both have been helpful to me and to parishioners).

And maybe I'm with you and coming into suffering soon. As I prepared Gen 4:1-8 this week, I was struck by how much pain Eve must have endured in her first pregnancy, first labor, first delivery--no wonder she thought that all sin and pain had come to an end with the birth of her son! Then, probably some 11 months later, after the extended pain of having a son of Cain's character, she was so deflated that she named #2 wind/vapor/vanity.

Just to say--until we reach the other side of Jordan, we may yet have a great amount of pain to endure patiently for the joy that is set before us.

God grant you grace and strength according to the day, brother.