Job's Response to Suffering Might Make You Rethink Your Approach

 We can't see in the dark, but God can.

Observer by Mari Lezhava


THE ENEMY WANTS you to embrace meaninglessness.

When unfortunate, coincidental, evil, tragic, or random events jam their way into our lives, the evil one wants us to stop asking why and instead conclude that no why exists. Because when we give a giant bear hug to the idea that life is purposeless, we lose hope and such a state opens up all kinds of possibilities for Satan and his minions.

The hopeless person really has nothing left to lose.

For his lot, Job never stopped petitioning God for answers. Though he might have resorted to snark and sarcasm, he never stopped his search for answers. After admitting he loathed his life and bitterness had filled his soul,  he began asking questions of God. For example, in Job 10:4 he said, "Have you eyes of flesh? Do you see as man sees?"

Such an inquiry, though, was disingenuous. Just a few verses later he said, "You know that I am not guilty" (v. 7) and, "You have made me like clay" (v. 9)—acknowledgements of God's omniscience and omnipotence respectively.

Nevertheless he asked the question anyway for effect. Although he knew God does not "see as man sees," to Job, in this moment, it seems like God's vision is limited. Such a question is Job's rhetorical method for petitioning God for answers.

This inquiry might also be a subtle dig at his friends who claimed he should repent and insinuated he deserved his suffering. It's as if he was saying, "These guys obviously don't know what they're talking about, so why don't you come to my defense, God? Is your judgment faulty like these humans?"

As odd as it sounds, we should follow Job's lead here.

Cut through all the rhetoric and flowery language and what you have left? A man who is hurting and cannot for the life of him understand why he's going through what he's going through. And to make matters worse, he knows there is a reason behind his circumstances, but he doesn't know what that reason is.

I think we all get to this point at some time in our lives. It may or may not be as dramatic as Job's plight, but we come to a crossroads where we just want answers. Life doesn't make sense like we think it should.

At this moment, the evil one would love nothing more than for you to embrace meaninglessness—to believe your plight has no purpose. Why? Because you can't denounce meaning without also denouncing the source of all meaning, your creator.

Contrast that type of reaction to Job's. He never stopped questioning God. He cajoled, pleaded, and wept, but he didn't give up hope of finding meaning. He was honest with God.

When's the last time you were honest with God?

Sometimes I dance around my hangups in prayer as if God doesn't already know everything going on in my life. But even if you don't get answers right away, it is helpful to pray, "God, I am not sure why I have to go through this. It seems as if you are so far removed from my situation, but I need you to intervene. Please help me understand."

In these types of prayers we run toward God, and we affirm his omniscience rather than turn away from him who has all of the answers.

Take it from Job: one of the best things to do when life doesn't make sense is to keep pursuing the only one who does not see as man sees.

Pursuing God is just one trait of an effective Christian life. I've compiled a list of twelve habits fruitful Christ-followers have in common.

If you'd like to experience peace amid the storms of life, check out this guide.

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