Friday, March 16, 2012

Learning Through Suffering

Learning Through  Suffering 
Job 1:21,22
Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.  In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.o
There once lived a man from the land of Uz whose name has become synonymous with the words suffering, loss and death. This man’s name, Job. All ten of his children were taken in death, his herds amounting to thousands destroyed and his good health, despairingly taken from him. How did Job respond to loss? Was he bitter, angry or cynical? Job’s reaction to hardship, and pain was forever recorded in Scripture, “Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”  
There are few people that can handle loss with such maturity as Job. He was described as a man that was perfect, upright, and one that feared God and shunned evil. According to God, there was no man on earth quite like Job. “And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause” (Job 2:3). 
Can a Christian face a variety of possible appointments from God–––some of which are suffering and death and still find God to be good? Is there a divine calling from God to suffer? Joseph was sold into slavery, yet God meant it for good. David suffered from the hands of King Saul, running for his life, Jeremiah was cast into the miry pit while preaching repentance, yet God loved them. Paul was stoned, shipwrecked and imprisoned, yet God loved him and gave him grace sufficient in suffering.
 If a Christian cannot submit to the superior wisdom of God and His purpose of pain, then they will never see suffering as a privilege. God is not necessarily concerned with making the Christian comfortable, but, in His great love, is concerned with making them strong and bearing the image of Christ through their suffering. When our world turns upside down and all that we see seems hideous to our finite minds, that’s when we have an opportunity to submit our wills to a higher authority, God. 
When our loved one lies suffering and our discernment of God’s ways are so different from ours, we then must learn to walk by faith trusting in His will. That is where God’s Spirit permeates our lives and renews our inner strength enabling us to mount up on eagle’s wings, the greatest hour of courage. We can then run and not be weary and walk and not faint. This is where the fire is lit and the cold world outside sees the Light of the world Himself showing compassion upon the dearest object of His affection, a surrendered, suffering saint. This choicest of suffering can sooth the weary Christian’s soul, while capturing the magnificence of God’s great love and making it visible to a lost and dying world.
Thought: Job was a man that suffered tremendous loss yet, through his tragic heartache, spoke these compelling words, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him:” (Job 13:15.)  Every child of God must travel with his Lord back and forth across the stormy sea of suffering knowing that this tumultuous experience is a high calling of God. 1 Peter 4:19 says: “Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”
Until Then
My heart can sing when I pause to remember
A heartache here is but a stepping stone
Along a trail that's winding always upward,
This troubled world is not my final home. 
Chorus
But until then my heart will go on singing,
Until then with joy I'll carry on,
Until the day my eyes behold the city,
Until the day God calls me home.

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