do not know God's way
or stay in his paths."
Suffering Has A Purpose
Mark R. Littletons
READ Job 22:1-24:25
SITUATION Eliphaz exhorted Job to admit that his suffer resulted from sin. Job disagreed. He began to question whether or not God had treated him fairly.
OBSERVATION Job knew he was righteous before God. Job wondered why he had been afflicted and if God cared for him.
INSPIRATION Most of us tend to have this idea that since God is sovereign, He's suppose to make everything work out perfectly. Nothing is suppose to touch us as long as we're walking with Him.
This is the very problem that leads many Christians to despair when they go through trails. They can't imagine how God could ever let anything bad happen to them. They turn His sovereignty into a magic genie that's suppose to push all problems, trials, difficulties, and irritations away the moment we say "Go!" As a result, when we suddenly find ourselves in the midst of terrible circumstances, we crumble, blame God and accuse Him of not caring, not being just, not acting in a loving manner, not having our best interest in mind.
We must come back to the truth that while God is in absolute control of all life. He is not the cause of all life's mishaps. Rather, His plan allows those mishaps for the great purpose of raising up "many brethren conformed to the image of Christ" (Romans 8:29).
Job's trials exposed him this important misinterpretation on Job's part . . . . He couldn't understand how God could allow these things to continue -- let alone happen . . . We can all identify with Job . . .The reason we see things this way is because we don't understand how God thinks, we can't comprehend the nature of His wisdom. His thoughts are not our thoughts, His ways are not our ways," said Isaiah (55:8). When we're new in the faith, or immature, we tend to think that God will always do what is best for us. Indeed He will. But what we think is best and what He does are as different as whipped cream and concrete. We think He'll make us happy. In effect, we envision these warm, fuzzy feelings. But He plans to make us holy. That often calls for plenty of knocks and raps . . .
Job's problems was just like ours. We have one plan and God has another. But God's plan is the one that will be put into operation. And when those plans turn into real life circumstances, we can feel as though we've been drawn, quartered, and fed to the crows.
But it's though gaining God's perspective that we begin to see true wisdom. That was what God was bring Job to understand. (From When God Seems Far Away by Mark R. Littleton)
APPLICATION It is easy to question God in times of struggle. When you feel afflicted turn toward God, not away from him. Seek the counsel of Christian friends and remain active in your church.
EXPLORATION Suffering Has A Purpose -- Mark 8:31-32; Luke 24:46-47; Romans 8:17-18; 1 Peter 2:21; 4:12-13.
The Devotional Bible - Experiencing the Heart of Jesus; Max Lucado General editor, NCV, Thomas Nelson Publishers