Summary: What is the purpose of suffering?

“When is Enough, Enough?”

If it wasn’t enough that Job lost his wealth, business and children; in today’s message he will lose even his health.

We looked last week at general principles of how to respond to trials and difficulties.

Today we will get down to the specifics of how we respond when the suffering becomes personal and physical.

Sometimes we can bear it when the trials are outside of our control and outside of our person, but what do we do when the trial becomes personal, intimate and physical.

There is nothing worse than unending, chronic pain in our life to bring depression and discouragement. We hate to see those we love suffer but also sometimes become overwhelmed when that pain becomes personal to us.

1. Physical suffering is not necessarily a result of our sin. (3)

“The Lord said to Satan, Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil.”

None of us, including Job, are without sin. We sometimes wonder what we have done wrong that God would bring such pain into our lives.

God himself called Job blameless. The pain in Job’s life was not a result of his disobedience. He was not being punished by God.

How ironic that we could even say that Job’s suffering came about in a way because of his blameless walk with God. It can be said that sometimes those walking the closest to God suffer the most. Our perspective is all wrong.

God takes what men meant as bad and uses it to bless us and bring glory to Himself.

Genesis 50:20 says, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive”.

Joseph suffered much at the hands of his brothers and yet forgave them. What a blessing to know that Jesus suffered at the hands of sinners and still forgives them. Man meant for the suffering and death of Jesus to be pointless and an end to his life. God meant it as a blessing for man for all eternity.

Sometimes things happen in our lives that bring us great pain. In those moments it is so easy for us to forget that God has a hand in every part of our lives.

God has a purpose for everything; even the things in our life that seem to take our breath away and break our heart.

God actually used Job’s pain for His glory and to have victory over the devil’s schemes.

His work on the cross that offers life to all who believe also was done through suffering, pain and death.

It would be great to think that we praise God when all is going well, but we will never know our true faith until it is tested.

In a way God blessed Job by showing Him the depth of His faith.

2. Physical suffering does not result in death for God’s children. (6)

”So the Lord said to Satan, Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life.”

We have the wrong perspective many times. When our hearts are here in this world we don’t understand suffering.

It was Jesus’ suffering that led to his death and resurrection and even our salvation if we repent and believe.

In much the same way we must look at suffering, not as something easy to bare, but as something that gets us that much closer to our ultimate salvation. Suffering does not lead to death in the life of a Christian but to true life itself in heaven.

God told Satan you can do all you want but you can’t touch his life. His life is in my hands. Satan’s efforts were futile because Job was in the hands of his creator.

What victory we have and what glory God receives when we suffer and yet do not sin.

We are in the hands of God himself. Our very life is preserved and protected there.

The world looks at physical suffering as something to be avoided at all cost. They self medicate by taking drugs, abusing alcohol and even think in some extreme cases that suicide is the answer.

In the life of a child of God the opposite is true. God actually takes something as terrible as pain and uses it for his glory through His grace. God uses pain to draw us to him, change our hearts and even bring us into an eternity of complete rest and peace.

Our physical suffering is not without purpose or without end.

God, by his grace, forgives sinful people and uses them for his glory. If a little pain is experienced along the way we still must praise God and know that if anything it should remind us that one day soon we will not have any pain and be with Him forever.

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