Reflect on it for a moment.
Remember the burning deep inside, the tears you shed, the groaning. Sometimes you felt like screaming but bit your tongue in silence.
Some of us have experienced a lot more of it than others.
Think of Job for a moment. The catalog of pain for that poor man is indeed long.
Pain of loss: The Sabeans took his oxen which were plowing, and killed his servants and ran off with the asses that were grazing nearby. Fire fell from heaven and burned his sheep and the servants attending them. The Chaldeans attacked his camels and killed the servants caring for them. The terrible wind from heaven destroyed the house and killed his sons and daughters while they were eating and drinking. All this, in one day.
Pain of disease: the terrible boils. He took the’ potsherd to scrape his sores. He sat amongst .the ashes. When his friends lifted up their eyes afar off and knew him not, they lifted up their voice and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven. So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him for they saw that his grief was very great.
Pain of guilt: he wrestled with the cause of such affliction and pain. Was it because of his sins? His wife told him to curse God and die, in order to end it all. His three friends accused him of having greater sin than others, and told him that God was punishing him for them: “Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same,” Job 4:8. Finally Job wails, “Why do you persecute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh?” Job 19:22.
Do you know what Job was speaking about? Have you experienced the pain of loss, of disease, or of guilt? Maybe you have gone through one more than another, but pain is still pain in whatever form it comes.
How have you handled it?
Let’s examine Job’s experience and learn from him.
First, he acknowledged that God was the cause of his pain. No, it might seem as if Job could have ascribed all his trouble to the devil; but he didn’t. Listen, “Naked come I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Surely, the devil challenged God and God gave Satan power to afflict Job. Yet the Holy Spirit makes us to see with Job that God is behind it all. This is the first step to the victory over pain. We must acknowledge that it comes from God! Say it comes by chance, from the devil, from some hostile force, and you will forever be in distress. Pain is within the will of God and comes from His Fatherly hand.
Secondly, he recognized that God was his strength in the midst of the pain. This came in the way of bitter struggle. Job said, “Oh that I might have my request; and that God would grant me the thing that I long for! Even that it would please God to destroy me,” Job 6:8. Of God he says, “In whose hand is the soul of every living thing and the breath of all mankind,” Job 12:10. James adds the best commentary, “Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy,” James 5:11. This is important in order to rise above the pain—not only does God send it, but God demonstrates His mercy and care to us while we suffer.
Thirdly, pain is not God’s righteous indignation to punish. Job confessed, righteousness in-Christ. The heart of the book of Job is in Job 19:25: “For I know that my Redeemer liveth and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.” This is God’s answer to guilt. With a living Redeemer, Jesus Christ, we have evidence of our righteousness in Him. If Christ be not raised we are yet in our sins, but now is Christ risen from the dead and He was raised for our justification. Already in the Old Testament, this was God’s message to Job and his answer to his accusers. Did God afflict Job as punishment, a little bit of hell to bring him into line? No, for the Living Redeemer was proof enough for Job that there is forgiveness with God.
Pain serves to strengthen us. God proved to Satan that the faith of Job was not dependent upon ease of life, riches, nor health. In all these things, Job professed the goodness of God and the care of God for him.
You know about it?
It too is a blessing. We learn as never before that Jehovah is very pitiful and tender of mercy.
The God Who teaches us such great truths will surely see us through.