Suffering Is Inescapable
Read Job 2:3
And the Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you incited me against him to destroy him without reason."
Do you believe that sometimes suffering happens "without reason"?
The natural human tendency is to look for an explanation for suffering. Where should we look first?
Accepting the hard truth that suffering is inescapable frees us for healing. Are you able to do this? (Why or why not?)
Much to Satan's disappointment, Job passed the test. He held strong to his faith, his integrity, and his God through the painful loss of his livelihood and loved ones. If this were a movie, we'd all be cheering at this point for the triumph of the hero!
Back in the heavenly realms, Satan appeared again before God. The Lord knew what Job had gone through and how he had fared. In fact, in verse 3, He points out that Job is still blameless, upright, and holding fast to his integrity.
He also points out that Satan had incited Him against Job to "destroy him without reason." Indeed Satan is the one who wanted to take away Job's livelihood and loved ones, to try to force him to turn away from God. Yet the Lord allowed this happen. He also put limits on Satan, telling him to not touch Job's physical body.
The "without reason" part of verse 3 alludes to a somber truth: suffering and losses occur often for "no reason" and thus are inescapable.
Understanding this truth can have a profound impact on our daily lives. Many of us today are struggling with a long list of worries about our families, our finances, our health, and myriad other matters. This worry wears down our bodies, unsettles our minds, and distracts our spirits from focusing on Jesus.
Why do we worry? One major factor is that so many things in life are out of our control--and we're not too comfortable with that. We like to know what will happen tomorrow, that if we do X it will always lead to Y, and, more importantly, if we follow certain rules or avoid certain things, the tragedies of life will just pass over us.
Similarly, when a loss occurs, whether our own or a friend's, we spend time asking "Why?" On one hand, we're trying to understand and absorb what happened. At a deeper level though, we want to know so that we can avoid that type of suffering in the future.
At the writing of this devotion, a news story is airing about a nine-year-old girl who accidentally killed her shooting instructor with a fully automatic Uzi. At these moments, we catch ourselves wondering why she was at the shooting range, why she was using such a powerful weapon that is normally restricted to teens and adults, whether there should be more laws in place, and so on.
Here's the problem: We're wasting energy looking for the reason for a tragic event that is ultimately without reason. This energy is better spent praying for both affected families. We're pretending that suffering is escapable when it ultimately is not. So how does understanding this truth on a deep spiritual level help us in overcoming the hurts in life? It can keep us from blaming ourselves or others for the pain. We can avoid the guilt and lashing out at others that make a painful situation even worse. We are freed to move on to healing when we aren't weighed down by looking for someone to blame.
Lord, suffering is the hardest reality of life. At times it seems even harder because I don't have an explanation for the pain. Help me to understand and accept these truths, trusting that You ultimately are in control. Amen.