REFLECTIONS ON SUFFERING

I began a study in Job this morning, for the second time in recent years. The first study was completed right before Hurricane Katrina hit!  There must be a reason for all the suffering in the world, and I reasoned that the reason is hidden in Job. Who has suffered more than Job? Well. . .I can think of one. His name starts with a “J” just like Job’s.

If you don’t already know this, the events in Job fall somewhere around Genesis Chapter 12 where the story of Abraham begins. It appears God had something to say about suffering before he gave Abraham the notion a city that treats its citizens with justice and equality could exist. Abraham never found that city but that is another story.

Anyhow, something caught my eye in Job Chapter 1 that made me pause and wonder. Satan puts on his disguise as an angel of light and waltzes into the throne room like he belongs there. God spots him and asks, “Where have you come from?” (Job 1:7) Satan didn’t think that was any of God’s business and blows him off with, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.” (Job 1:7)

God knows this pseudo angel of light well and knew exactly what Satan was doing on the earth. Instead of booting Satan out of the throne room and slamming the door, God painted a big red target on Job’s back. God himself brought blameless and upright Job who fears God and shuns evil to Satan’s attention. Making matters even worse, Satan received permission to do anything he desired except touch Job’s flesh.

At this point being blameless and upright holds little appeal to me. Why bother with perfection if it makes me target practice for the devil? I did notice one thing that made me pause and wonder. God said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job?” My what? My who? Did you hear what God called Job? “SERVANT!” Did I type that loud enough for you? “SERVANT!”

Immediately, I fired up my computer and opened Study Bible version 4. A few keystrokes and I had every Hebrew word with corresponding English translation in view for Job Chapter 1. Yep. No mistake. The Hebrew word “ebed” means servant and Vines Expository Dictionary confirmed it.

God doesn’t mince words. With “words” God spoke the world into existence. Jesus was the word and the word was with God. Words are very important to God. “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37, KJV) If we are justified or condemned by our words, we can be sure that God has not spoken an idle word – ever.

God could have said to Satan, “Have you considered Job?” God could have said, “Have you considered my son Job?” When God called Job “my servant” it wasn’t a Freudian slip of the tongue. God identified exactly who Job was: a servant not a son.

Are we all God’s children? If you believe the Bible, God created all of us and all of us belong to God. But I’m more inclined to believe that we are all God’s servants than I am to believe that we are all God’s children. The Bible is clear. God will not receive you as his child unless you act like his child. “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9, KJV) “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters. (2 Corinthians 6:17-18) There are definitely some requirements to be satisfied if you desire the honor of being received as a son instead of a servant.

Are you wondering what I paused and wondered about? Here it is: God allowed a servant to suffer without reason but would he allow a child to suffer without reason? What do you think?

About Teena Myers

Teena Myers is the Chairman of the Westbank Southern Christian Writers Guild, author of three books and a freelance writer.
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