WHY DO WE SUFFER?
Job 30:26–31; 42:1–6
July 4, 2018, began and progressed like any other day for our family until late that night. My oldest daughter and a group of her friends made plans to shoot fireworks in the field behind our home. An hour or so later, one of her friends called and hysterically said my daughter had been hurt, and a trip to the emergency room would be needed.
A firework had exploded between two of my daughter’s fingers, and the burn damage was considerable. The following day there were discussions of surgeries, skin grafts and other options.
I have never hurt so much for my daughter than when the blisters appeared, and the nurses cut them open so they could heal more effectively. If I could have taken that suffering from my child, I would have.
In this world, suffering is inevitable. Many experience depression, anxiety or grief. Others have chronic pain. Some face the horror of an abusive spouse or parent or perhaps a rebellious child.
The television news reminds us of the wars and crimes prevalent in our society. Why is there such suffering in the world, and why does our loving God allow it?
Those questions are asked of ministers more than any other, and there are no perfect answers. However, we can look to Scripture and read the words of God in our trying times.
We all experience suffering, even those who seek after good. (30:26–31)
No one in the Old Testament suffered as much as Job. At the same time, Job was also regarded by God to be one of the most righteous men of his day.
No one is exempt from suffering, and no one is too good to avoid it. Simple answers or clichés will not suffice in easing deep suffering in our lives.
We may not understand why we are suffering, but we can trust God in His sovereignty. (42:1–3)
Near the beginning of this passage and near the end is an intriguing assurance for me. Verse 1 makes mention of things Job did know, and verse 3 references things he didn’t know.
The connection between these two observations is that we can know the power and strength of God and at the same time not fully know how wonderful God is.
We may not get the answers we desire during our season of suffering, but we can know God and His presence and that is sufficient.
We can experience the presence of God even in the midst of suffering. (42:4–6)
By having a relationship with the Father through Christ, we have the greatest resource in the world: Christ Himself.
The words we share with others in difficult times will usually be forgotten with the passing of time. However, I can vividly remember the names and faces of those who stood with me in my times of great hurt.
Sometimes, our presence is the greatest gift we can share with others.
To the best of our understanding, God never answered Job’s “why” question. Instead, God gave Job — and us — the gift of “here.” My friend, God is with you in your hurt. Seek Him.
By Bobby McKay
Pastor of New Liberty Baptist Church in Morton, Mississippi