WHEN WE SUFFER
© Rosemary Bardsley 2006
Life was meant to be easy, but our human choice in Genesis 3 brought sin and suffering into the world. We live today with the results of that choice. Even when we turn to God and believe in him, life is not easy. Sin and suffering confront us on every side. Trouble and tragedy and trauma hound our footsteps. Sometimes doubts creep into our hearts and minds and whisper that maybe this whole thing about God is not true, or, that if it is true, it is simply not working for me.
God understands this vulnerability, this fragility, this heaviness of human life. Jesus himself said: ‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest …’ [Matthew 11:28].
In the Bible we are given a sustained look into the turmoil that raged in the heart and mind of one of God’s people who experienced every level of human suffering.
BIBLE READING: Job 23:1-15
SUMMARY OF MESSAGE
Frustration, but also confidence
Comfort and sympathy
Control and completion
Application and adoration
FRUSTRATION, BUT ALSO CONFIDENCE
 Job 23:1-9. A fruitless and frustrating search for God. God just doesn’t seem to answer.
 Job 23:1-9,17. Confidence, nevertheless, that God is there, that God does listen, that God will not condemn him, that God is at work, even in the darkness.
COMFORT AND SYMPATHY
 ‘He knows the way that I take’ [Job 23:10a] – God knows about it.
 He also knows what it is like – Hebrews 4:15 – 5:9
CONTROL AND COMPLETION
 ‘When he has tested me, I will come forth as gold’ [Job 23:10b]
 God will work his purpose out, even in and through our suffering [Job 23:13-16; Romans 8;28], even in and through the evil intentions of Satan towards us [Job Ch 1 & 2; Genesis 45:7; 50:20].
APPLICATION AND ADORATION
 Hebrews 12:2-3 – Jesus Christ understands our troubles and completes his work.
 Hebrews 12:7; 1 Peter 1:6b-8 – God is at work when we are suffering.
 The God of Job is also our God – we cannot see him, but he knows, he understands, he is at work. Nothing can change his purpose. He will do in us what he wants to accomplish.
CONCLUSION AND CHALLENGE