Some of you are facing what could easily be called an unsolvable problem. (How do I know that? I’m a pastor too.) It’s you, especially, I hope to encourage today. Often the situations with no human answers form the platform on which God does some of His best work.
This is illustrated beautifully in the life of Job, who is an ongoing example of unsolvable problems. Job’s biography includes a clipboard full of questions about suffering: Is God fair? Is this situation just?
What is a person to learn when going through deep waters of suffering?
In Job, we have a unique and rare look within the veil of heaven and behind the scenes on earth.
The LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.” The LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” (Job 1:7–8)
What would God say about you if He were to address Satan right now and tell him about your life? “Have you considered ______,” and then He calls your name. As He describes you, what words would he use? With some of you, it might fit very closely to what He said about Job—“blameless and upright.”
Job’s life was an authentic model of courageous living. He had trusted God in the good times. Now the scene was set to determine if Job would trust God in an impossible situation. He endured loss like few have known. His home . . . destroyed. His family . . . perished. His health . . . ruined. His finances . . . wiped out. His friends . . . questioned his godly reputation.
In the long process of working through his questions and struggles, Job finally resolved to trust God—no matter what. He responded, in so many words: “I accept what God has sent. I have accepted good, now I accept adversity.” Read that once more. Acceptance is the secret of his stability.
Why Job Responded as He Did
I find three real reasons Job could respond like this.
- Job looked up and was comforted by God’s sovereignty. He saw more than God’s actions; he saw His heart. He accepted what God gave as well as what He took away. He saw God’s sovereign love, and he said to his wife, in effect: “Should we not receive both without question?”
- Job also looked ahead and was reminded of God’s promise. In chapter 19, Job said: “I know that my Redeemer lives, / And at the last He will take His stand on the earth” (19:25). Job was reminded of God’s promise that at the end all will be made right. Looking ahead, he felt spurred on.
- Job looked within and was shaped by God’s instruction. Job 42:6 states that he looked at his life, as he repented “in dust and ashes.” He saw that God had instructed him in his suffering and illness as in no other way. If I may paraphrase his words, Job said: “Lord, for the first time, I honestly can say, ‘I give myself to You as never before.’”
My friend, if your days have been punctuated by difficulties and nights have been like a long and dark tunnel, find your comfort in God’s sovereign control and everlasting love. We pastors need to remember that God often uses the ministry in us more than He uses us in the ministry.
Your Savior knows your breaking point. The bruising and crushing and melting are designed to reshape you, not ruin you. He’s the Potter, remember, and you’re the clay. Your strength and courage increase the longer He lingers over you. Remembering Job’s secret can make all the difference.