For those of us who are in the Northeast part of the US, this year the winter seems to be utterly cruel. It is almost May when we should be experiencing Spring in full force but every time we think Spring and warmer temperatures are here, the Winter weather makes its reappearance with its mix of snow showers and near freezing temperatures continuing to taunt us and makes us want to say: “Enough of Winter already”.
This could be analogous to our journey of life as well when there are periods of dread and bleakness that just never seems to end. During such times, just when we think one trial is over and we get ready to breathe a sigh of life to pick up our pieces and rebuild again, another trial hits.
Maybe you have experienced it in the past. Or maybe you are walking that path of long-suffering now.
No matter the case, this week I am here to point to the biblical example we have: Job.
Most of you are probably well versed in this book of the Bible – perhaps at least the prologue and the epilogue, but let me highlight a few things for you that have stood out for me in my own recent review of this book.
- Job was a righteous man who feared God.
- Job maintained his integrity and character before God.
- When he lost all his possessions and his children, his posture before God did not change.
- When he lost his health and was in physical pain and suffering, he did raise out his cries before God but did not allow his circumstances to diminish who God was. He continued to extol the nature of God in his poetical utterances.
- The best thing that Job’s friends did for him was sit with him in silence for 7 days sharing his grief and sorrow. The words they later spoke were not at all helpful.
All of this has some obvious implications for us as we approach suffering and pain in our own lives and/or in the lives of those around us.
When we experience suffering and trials, the “why” or “how” of suffering becomes irrelevant as we are called to continue to praise God through our circumstances. Like Job, may we have the grace to remember my circumstance does not change God’s nature in any way and He is still worthy to be praised. And we ought to praise Him without any conditions or expectations.
When we encounter other believers who are suffering, we shouldn’t try to decipher the situation for them or try to determine the “why” or “how” for them either. But being there for them is the best thing and better than any words that can be spoken.
This weekend, my husband and I had the opportunity to do just that with a dear sister in Christ who has been walking through one trial after another and had just received news of her dad passing away unexpectedly. As we visited her, we mostly just let her grieve and grieved with her. No scriptures. No beautiful words of edification. No profound thoughts. All we could say was “just hang in there” and “just keep praising Him” (she already was praising Him through music). But I know our visit was what she needed for that hour.
So, what is the situation you are in now? Is the breakthrough you have been waiting for seem ever elusive? Are you facing discouraging circumstances where nothing ever seems to go right? Are you not sure what to do for a friend whose suffering is unbearable for you to witness?
Why not try to turn your gaze upon the Lord and continue to focus on who He is rather than the human circumstances. Perhaps you can read through some of Job’s cries out to the Lord and God’s response to Job and his friends. I hope you will read at least part of the book this week and be drawn closer to God’s presence.
And to get another viewpoint and summary on the book on Job as a whole, take a quick look at this short video by The Bible Project.
The Biblical patriarch Job loses almost everything and suffers much but yet does not curse God and eventually experiences restoration and a double reversal of his losses.
Weekly Reading Plan
And here is the weekly plan to help plan your reading for the week
If you want to dig deeper here are some of my suggestions:
- Use the above schedule or another rhythm to read through the whole book of Job
- Read Romans 5:3-5. What does suffering produce any how?
- Read James 1:2-4. Why should a believer rejoice in suffering?
- Optional: Read Psalms 43-45
And that is it for week 18!
Happy Bible Learning!