Our world is filled with death, disease, disasters and evil. The consequences of this brokenness are pain and suffering. The world doesn’t give preference to people who are righteous, and Job is an example of this truth. In Job 1:1, we find out that Job was blameless and upright. Job feared God. He was a good man, yet his name is synonymous with affliction.
While reading about Job’s season of tribulation may seem like a drudgery, it actually reveals to us important truths about the nature of God. God is worthy of praise (Job 1:21). God is sovereign over everything, including hardship (Job 2:9–10). God cares for us (Job 5:18 & Job 33:29–30). God reveals himself to us (Job 42:4–6). When we look at Job’s heartache through this lens, we are better able to understand how God uses suffering to draw us closer to him.
Since suffering is a part of living life on Earth, figuring out how our current hurts can be used to transform us is an integral part of the sanctification process. James tells us in verse 1:2 that we should count hardship as joy. Paul tells us in Romans 5:3–4 that we should rejoice in our suffering because suffering produces endurance and hope. This might seem like a monumental task in the middle of pain. How can we possibly find joy in suffering?
In his 2012 Secret Church study, The Cross and Suffering, pastor David Platt identifies some questions that may help us dig into the parts of ourselves that are hurting in order to find the joy:
- What areas of my faith are being refined through suffering?
- What is God revealing about Himself through this suffering?
- How can I rely on God more as a result of my suffering?
- What sin(s) do I need to repent of and renounce as a result of my suffering?
- How can this suffering drive me to find deeper reward in God?
As Tauren Wells sings about so eloquently in his song, Hills and Valleys, our God is the God of both our hills and our valleys. His character is made known to us in our best and darkest moments. He loves us more than we can ever know (Lamentations 3:31–32).