Where is God in my suffering?

The oldest book of the Bible, is not the first book of the Bible, Genesis. The oldest book of the Bible is a beautiful, yet painful, poetic book called Job. In the book of Job, we see a man who was considered to be one of the most honorable and righteous people of his land. He had land, money, health, servants, children and a wife. Through out the book we see all of this flee away. Job has some foolish and ignorant friends in his life, who want to impose their answers of why this is happening to Job. Job becomes infuriated with his friends, and, questions God on how and why these things happened.

A story is easier told, than lived isn’t it? I’ve found this true in my life. I’ve seen and have had done to me some of the most disgusting things that can be done to a human being in a life time. I have felt like Job more often than not. I have had my physical well-being taken away from me, slowly being regained. I have battled serious bouts of depression and anxiety because of these events. And, in the midst of these battles, I have argued and questioned and doubted God.

In the midst of the crucifixion, we see a vulnerable Jesus shout to the heavens? “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” In the midst of great suffering. Feeling the wrath of physical violence and the weight of the sin of man, we see a Son question his Father. A man carrying the impossible weight that only God can carry.

In this midst of his questions and accusations, God responds to Job. Not in answers, but back in questions. Before, God asks him to stand before him like I man, Job responds to him-

“I am unworthy—how can I reply to you?
I put my hand over my mouth.
I spoke once, but I have no answer—
twice, but I will say no more.”

I have learned in my years of suffering through life’s events, that my foolishness craves answers. While my foolishness was the healthiest response to a path of wisdom, I now know, that no answer for what I have seen, will ever be good enough for me. If I need answers from God for the catastrophes of life before I can believe in him, then I know my life will deteriorate to nothing.

Three days after his crucifixion, Jesus walked out of the tomb. Achieving, only what God can do. Walking from death into life. Teaching forgiveness, and, the hope for what is and what will be. Restoring broken spirits.

In the last chapter of Job, Job replies after God is done questioning him-

“I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.

“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.’
My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.”

After this, God restored Jobs health, he restored Jobs wealth, he gave Job a new family.

If I need to know where God was and why he allowed the things to happen to me in order to believe in him, I cannot come into relationship with the God who brought Jesus from death to life. When I am willing to give up my need for answers, I have welcomed the God who will weep with me. Who will help me absorb the violence and inhumane acts, just as Jesus did. I welcome the God, who brings me through all anxiety and depression. I welcome the God who by the healing of the resurrection, allows me to not need the answers and accusations, because, the healing and forgiveness received, makes those things seem so unimportant. This is the hope of my life. This is the hope for humanity.

In the hope for this life, the New Heavens and the New Earth, we see a proclamation from God who says “I will wipe all the tears from their eyes, all the pain and mourning. Those things have past away. Behold, I make all things new.”

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4 thoughts on “Where is God in my suffering?

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by MassBible, mike friesen. mike friesen said: Blog- Where is God in my Suffering?- http://wp.me/pFnzm-9P […]

  2. gabe says:

    Good thoughts my friend… Will we accept the good from God but not also the difficult? Jesus was faced with that same internal question in the garden and responded in faith, “Not my will, but your will be done.”

    We are called, no commanded, to give freely as we have freely received and to forgive as we have been forgiven. We can endure the difficult as Jesus did, and it is because of the promise through Jesus! As you quote, “I will wipe all the tears from their eyes, all the pain and mourning. Those things have past away. Behold, I make all things new.”

    Gabe

    • mfries05 says:

      Love your thoughts Gabe. I am reminded of the thought that, for some reason God accepted this for me, can I accept this for myself? Potentially without immediate meaning or value? Can we hold a share of ambiguity or darkness, like Christ did? Even when we act like Christ and say, “Can you please pass this burden? And, if not so, I understand.” Love your thoughts and heart Gabe!

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