God, Suffering, and Endurance
“Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. – Job 2:10b
Let’s think through three questions to meditate on what we learned from last Sunday’s message.
How is God’s desire to display His own glory not in competition with His love for mankind?
If God is everything He claims to be (the very being for whom all creation was made), then revealing His glory for us to see and worship is a revelation of the ultimate purpose for all mankind. It would be better for us to see God and worship Him than to spend a lifetime gaining temporary things in the world apart from seeing and worshipping God (See. Mark 8:36).
How is God’s glory magnified when I suffer?
God is shown to be glorious when temporary things in my world are shown to be exactly what they are—temporary gifts from the Giver of all things. When God is the means and the end, the circumstances He wills for me (suffering or worldly success) are opportunities to worship. Give me wealth—Glory to and trust in God. Give me cancer—Glory to and trust in God.
Though God does care for His children with temporary gifts, Scripture is overwhelmingly weighted toward preparing the Christian to suffer when the comforts of this life are found to be fleeting. Nearly every New Testament author alludes to some form of suffering that Christians will endure. We see the same pattern of suffering for proclaiming the truth in the Old Testament from Joseph in Genesis to the prophets.
God is my greatest need in this life whether the Lord gives or takes away.
How is God’s glory magnified when I suffer? He is magnified because suffering has the ability to remove potential idols from our lives that could replace God.
If suffering is ordained by God as a test (as shown in Job’s life) to prove a Christian’s faith, how can I have confidence that my faith will not fail when suffering comes?
The faith with which one surrenders to Christ to be saved, is the faith that will keep the Christian to the end. You will not walk away in suffering, because the Keeper will keep you. You can trust Him to keep you in suffering as you trusted him to save you. The work He begins in you He will complete
(See Philippians 1:6). He is able to keep you from stumbling and falling away (See Jude 24). He was the one who made you new, and He is guarding you for salvation (See 1 Peter 1:3-5).