What do you expect out of your day? Do you generally believe your day will go well, everything will work in your favour and there will be absence of suffering? What do you expect in your future? Do you believe you’ll embark on a career where you will rise to the top, you will get married, have kids, they’ll rise and call you “blessed”, they’ll leave home, get married, provide you with grandchildren, you’ll retire, you’ll then sail around the world and eventually you and your spouse will peacefully pass away in your sleep at the same time side by side? Are there any details missing from that life story?
Our expectations of a “normal day” or a “normal life” will dictate whether we are delighted or disappointed at the end of the day. None of us want to go around expecting the worst each day, but we have also been confronted by the book of Job (and the rest of the bible really) that suffering is an inevitable fact of life. In life there are mountain tops and valleys, oasis’ and deserts.
Job lived this reality and through it all, he remained connected to God through some extreme emotional ups and downs. When God finally confronts Job at the end of the book, Job responds in a very different way than he responded to his “friends”. James 5:11 tells us that Job was steadfast, he persevered through his trials and suffering. It also tells us that God, through his purposes, showed that He was compassionate and merciful. Ultimately, in His mercy, he humbled Job, he accepted Job and then He Blessed Job.
We too can experience that blessing from God when we approach Him in confession and repentance. It is a promise that He gives to all His followers.
Amazing to think that mining was already happening 4,000 years ago! Precious jewels were being mined in far reaching places from within the depths of the earth. Job says that mountains were being overturned to find them. He brings up this “wonder of the ancient world” to contrast the preciousness of those jewels to wisdom. How much more precious is wisdom than any earthly treasure. Yet, how do we find it?
We all look for wisdom in some way or another. We constantly have multiple decisions ahead of us; many ways we can go on any number of paths. What school should I attend? What career should I choose? What should I do with my life? What do I do in retirement? How do I raise my kids? What should I teach my kids? How do I respond to a conflictual relationship? Is there purpose or meaning in life? We all look for wisdom daily.
Is it possible to find true wisdom without knowing who we are, why we were created and what our purpose is? Job teaches us that finding wisdom is rooted in finding the One who is the source of wisdom. When we find God and when when we begin to see Him for who He truly is; then and only then, do we begin to see wisdoms source and received wisdoms guidance.
When trouble and tragedy hit, one of the first questions we ask is “why?”. Why did my spouse have to die? Why was my child born with this illness? Why did I get into this job? WHy was my childhood so difficult? Why did my parents split up? Why am I living with the consequences of other people actions? The list goes on. Eventually we begin to question is God is really for us or is he against us?
In Job 19, Job finds himself in this same place; and he’s so alone. Everyone who was near him has abandoned him. He has at the depth of loneliness. “Does anyone know what this is like? If I could only write these words down to be preserved for all time.” Such is the intellectual integrity of the book of Job.
In the midst of the suffering we experience, we desire to be heard, to be understood, to have someone who cares. What Job discovers is that he has a Saviour who does more than just listen, he provides us what we all truly need; redemption. Our Kinsman Redeemer, Jesus Christ, shines through like a ray of light in a dark room.
The comfort we truly need is the comfort we have through our Advocate, Jesus Christ. Because of that, one day, all of our suffering will be turned to glory. Our suffering is never wasted. Now we can go and offer comfort to others with this same truth.
Justice seems to be that unspoken essential in our pursuit of joy. We are all, actively, to the best of our ability, striving for something better in this life. Ultimately, this can be called joy or happiness. But what happens when some outside factor robs us of the ability to pursue joy? We call this injustice!
In Job’s speech to his friends, and to God, at the end of the first round of conversation, he gives us a clear window into his struggle for justice. He feels like he is suffering unjustly, and that if only God would see this then everything would turn out for Job.
In this message, Pastor Brennan explores the expectations for justice we place on ourselves, those around us, and ultimately God Himself… all in our pursuit of joy. Yet, what is the the joy we’re pursuing? Is it in fact the ultimate and only satisfying joy, Jesus?
Suffering is something which each of us are sure to face. From a biblical perspective, there has never been a promise made for permanently removing suffering, or the effects of suffering, this side of paradise. More than this, any belief system which may promise a lasting reprieve from suffering is sure to disappoint.
Yet how do we actually deal with the inevitable suffering which is sure to come? Lead Pastor, Jeremy Olfert looks at the book of Job in this week’s sermon for some keys to understanding the nature of comfort in the midst of suffering. Job, chapters 5 and 6 are an account of how Job is dealing the early stages of his suffering in conversation with his three friends. He calls them miserable comforters, and their advice to him is worthless and empty. This is primarily because they are ignoring the real meaning of Job’s suffering, and making up reasons to try and explain it away. They say that if only Job confesses his sin, he will be delivered. The moral conclusion of this type of thinking is the prosperity movement, where if we are faithful to God, then He will shower us with material physical blessings.
Job approaches his suffering with honesty however. He hangs onto his claim of righteousness and rejects the ‘spiritual rationalism’ of his friends. Job also sees God as his ultimate authority and source for everything, even in the midst of misery. He never considers suicide, but instead realizes that all life belongs to God, it is His to do with as He sees fit.
For us though, our ultimate comfort is found not in rationalizing our suffering away, or praying to be blessed with untold physical and material blessings; we look to Christ! Jesus, who endured manifestly more suffering than even Job, did so in complete innocence. Not only did he suffer in innocence, it says he suffered in our place!
“But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.”
Comfort is only, ultimately found in the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ.
To learn how you can experience this life giving relationship with your creator, join us for a Sunday morning service and check out Pastor Jeremy’s full sermon here.
The book of Job, one of the literary crown jewels of the ancient world, is renowned for the way it breaks down assumptions about what the good life is really built on. The story of Job is our story, really. The struggle he goes through is something we all face to greater or lesser degrees, and it’s in the midst of the struggle that we ask the very same questions as Job. If God is all powerful, loving, and knows everything, then how can He possibly allow that level of suffering.
Dive into this ancient, poetic, and frighteningly beautiful account of what happens when in the throws of sorrow, humanity comes face to face with the divine.
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