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Faith Focus: When suffering hits

If you have been in the church for any length of time, you have heard the story of Job – a man described as a faithful follower of God who was “blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil” (Job 1:1).

One day, Satan turned to God and accused him of protecting Job and giving him every blessing. “But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face” (Job 1:11). God allowed Satan to challenge Job. In a matter of days, Job lost all his possessions, experienced the death of all his children and was struck with horrible illnesses.

Throughout the book of Job, it records the honest conversations he had with God. In the middle of tragedy, Job cried out to God in frustration, in sadness and sometimes in anger. At the heart of all those conversations, he asked why such tragedy could befall him.

Each of us have experienced tragedy: death, illness, pain, homelessness, financial struggles, grief, family arguments and the list goes on and on. How many times have we also cried out in the middle of suffering and asked the question why? Why is this happening to me? Why is this happening now? How can I possibly get past this?

Job’s questions were not always pretty – they were honest expressions of how he was feeling, and yet the Bible described Job as remaining faithful. In the middle of suffering, it’s OK to have honest conversations with God. It’s OK to ask him the hard questions because it is through those questions you open the door of vulnerability and allow God to comfort you through the suffering.

While Job eventually regained everything he lost, we are not promised to receive the same in our suffering, but God promises to care deeply for us, to comfort us and to never leave us alone. There is hope through suffering when we open the door of communication and have the courage to be vulnerable and honest with God.

“The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away: blessed be the name of the Lord,” Job 1: 21

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