Suffering and the Wisdom of God

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Life presents us circumstances that force us to ask, “Why?” We feel like Job. Devoted followers of Christ who just had the rug pulled out from under us. We shake our fist at God.

“What have you done?”

“None of this makes sense.”

“I deserve better.”

Remember what God said to Job out of the whirlwind?

“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Dress for action like a man;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone,
when the morning stars sang together
and all the sons of God shouted for joy?”
– Job 38:2-7

Take a moment to continue to read Job 38-41. God is not sparing in his questioning, for good reason.


 

A God that we can figure out is a God not to be worshipped. Secret judgments and divine mysteries should not make us doubt a Creator, but actually, should make us see the Creator.

Samuel Rutherford puts it, “The King keeps his best wine in the cellar of affliction.” God is not a sociopath, bent on tormenting us for the fun of it. Rather, He ushers us down to these cellars of affliction that we might learn again to depend, to trust, to hope. We often act as if it is most difficult to trust God when our circumstances are hard, but in reality it is most difficult when life seems to be at its best.

Suffering in this life is brought on for many reasons, but more than anything it traces the distinction of what is temporal and what is eternal. If we know the gospel, suffering has a way of reminding the Christian not only of the reach of Adam’s sin, but of the further and more abiding reach of Christ’s atoning righteousness. Suffering certainly points the Christian to a weary world, but also reminds him that Christians in this world can rejoice, for yonder breaks a new a glorious morn.

Ultimately, we Christians are all like Job. We don’t know. We weren’t there helping God in the dawn of creation. Authority is not something we deserve, but a dose of it has been assigned (Gen. 1:26). We are often not able to answer “Why?” in the cellars. But we can know other truths. That God is a good Father. That suffering will itself pass away for us. That in the dark and still corners of hurt and longing, Jesus is there, waiting, inviting, helping.

He will not leave us. He will hold us as we cry, fight for us, and rescue us – maybe not to what we want, but what we need. Our preferences in prayer may not be answered. But rest in the truth that God is always saying “Yes” to us, even when His “Yes” looks different than ours. This is wisdom beyond understanding, and that is good.

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