“Be still and know that I am God”. (Psalms 46:10)
Where is God?
Does He know, or are my prayers heard only by the wall?
Is He near, or somewhere distant, only watching?
So many things about your life are difficult right now. Things you used to take for granted, a good night’s sleep, having goals, looking forward to the future, now seem beyond your reach. Your relationships are also affected. The people who love you are looking for some emotional response from you, but you do not have one to give.
There was once a man who suffered beyond what he could have imagined and is a perfect example of a picture I put in my mind every time I feel I have suffered and I can’t seem to get feedback from God or every time I see a friend telling me of their same of their suffering . His name was Job – in Job 2:1-20 his long story gives us some perspective.
Job was blameless and upright, a man of such integrity that even God likes to show him off. If anyone deserves blessings, Job did. Yet one day God puts him to the test. Job’s life falls to pieces; calamity of every kind descends upon him. Raiders sweep his fields; his livestock are captured or destroyed; his servants are put to the sword; a house collapses on his sons and daughters and kills them all. Disease strikes him, and he is covered with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. In all this, he submits patiently to God, only to be mocked by his wife, who tells him to “curse God and die!”(Job 2:9) Friends arrive, and still he is patient. For days they sit with him in silence, seeing how greatly he suffers.
Not All Suffering Is Our Fault
Did someone say God doesn’t suffer?
In Jesus, God suffered. That was why He became one of us – to suffer for us.
Job didn’t deserve what was happening. Not all suffering is our fault. We do bring some suffering upon ourselves: Adulterers destroy their homes, drunks their livers, wasters their wealth. Yet the innocent suffer too. Dreadful things happen, things we don’t deserve, things that seem to be senseless. This is why God sides with the sufferer, even in preference to those so-called defenders who merely explain away the pain.
In His justice, God understands that this will seem unjust to us. He does not even try to give us answers that we will not understand. Instead, He visits us, as He visited Job. He is a better answer than the answers would have been. Indeed, He is the only possible answer. Though we find ourselves buried in a deeper dark than night, from the midst of the whirlwind, He speaks.
We Can’t Repair Ourselves
Not only are we broken, but we can’t repair ourselves.
Could you perform surgery on your own eyes?
Suppose you tore off both hands; could you sew them back on?
Come to God with your suffering
You can start to experience the inward renewal when you come to God with your suffering. God seems far away when we suffer. You believe that He exists, but it seems as if He is too busy with everything else, or He just doesn’t care. After all, God is powerful enough to end your suffering, but He hasn’t.
If you start there, you’ll reach a dead end pretty quickly. God hasn’t promised to explain everything about what He does and what He allows. Instead, He encourages us to start with Jesus. Jesus is God the Son, and He is certainly loved by his heavenly Father. Yet Jesus also went through more suffering than anyone who ever lived!
Love and suffering can co-exist.
When we encounter people like Job, Jeremiah, and the apostle Paul, you get a sense that suffering is actually the well-worn path for God’s favorites. It cushions the blow when you know that God understands. You aren’t alone. If we know anything about God, we know that He comes close to those who suffer, so keep your eyes open for Him.
God speaks to you
But now even more the report about him went abroad, and great crowds gathered to hear him and to be healed of their inﬁrmities. But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray. Luke 5:15–16 (ESV)
If we trust Him as our price-payer, as our sin-bearer, then through Him we give up our broken life and receive His own life in its place. Then no suffering can be meaningless, because it is lifted up into His own suffering and redeemed.
When you feel worried and stressed withdraw to a quiet place and talk to Jesus about your needs.