Suffering is Inevitable
For reading & meditation - Job 5:1-18
"Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward." (v. 7)
How do we, as Christians, cope with the problem of unmerited suffering? The first thing we must do is to recognize that in a universe whose balance has been greatly upset by sin, undeserved suffering is bound to come. Face this, and you are halfway to turning the problem into a possibility. In an Indian palace, many years ago, a child was born whose parents decided to keep all signs of decay and death from him. When he was taken into the garden, maids were sent before him to remove all the decaying flowers and fallen leaves, so that he would be protected from all signs of suffering and death. One day, however, he left his home and, while wandering through the streets, came across a corpse. His reaction was so strong that he set about establishing the teaching that, as life is fundamentally suffering, the only thing to do is to escape into Nirvana, the state of extinction of self. The young man was Guatama Buddha, whose beliefs are shared by millions of his followers, not only in India but around the world. His philosophy is a dramatic and tragic result of trying to protect oneself from the realities of life, one of which is suffering. The Christian faith is the opposite of that: it exposes us to the very heart of suffering - the cross. Then it takes that suffering, and turns it into salvation. This is why Christians should not be afraid to face the worst that can happen - because with God it can be turned into the best.
Prayer: Father, I am so thankful for the cross - what is my suffering compared to that? And even if I have to bear similar suffering, I know that out of it will come to me what came to You - a resurrection. Blessed be Your Name forever. Amen.
For Further Study
1. Why was it necessary for Christ to suffer?
2. How can suffering become positive?