My ears had heard of you, but now my eyes have seen you. Job 42:5
Right now, there is a lot of suffering going on in the world. Hurricanes have destroyed homes in the south. Wildfires rage in the west. A troubled man shoots people sitting in their church. Why does God allow it? Why doesn’t God use His almighty power to end all suffering? If you want the answer, you just need to read the book of Job. Here is a man who seems to have it all and loses it in a single day. His wealth and children were gone; he sits in an ash heap and is covered with sores. His friends condemn him as a wicked man through three waves of dialogs. Surely, there was never a more horrible situation come upon one whom God calls “blameless and upright” (Job 1:8).
Satan is confident that if God allows Satan to strip away all of the blessings that the Lord has given Job that Job will curse God to his face. Something different happens. Job ends up with a deep understanding of the mercy of God. With all of life stripped away from him, Job begins to see God as the fog of life lifts from his eyes. The waves of condemnation from his three “friends” have made him ponder the mysteries of God deeply. He has had to unravel their half-truths so that he can see the truth about God. He is not afraid to cry out to God for answers, and God responds to a man who has nothing but God. In the end, Job will make his confession and gain a new understanding of God before God restores a single blessing that had been taken. The great gift Job receives is that God is no longer abstract to him. God is someone that Job has met and understands the enormous power and compassion of God.
Lying in a hospital bed or at home having lost your job gives a person a lot of time to think. The busy life has been stripped away. Time has been provided for extended Bible study and prayer. You can lie there counting the dots in the ceiling tile, or you can spend time wrestling with suffering and asking God why. Through the tears and the fears, God will speak to us. He may be silent at first as He was for Job, yet given time He will speak. In those moments where your dignity has been stripped away from you, God will open up your eyes to see His great love for you. He will invite you to the throne room where you can gain a sense of His wisdom and wonder at His power. God allows suffering to strip away our pride and self-worth so that He can teach us His mysteries and give us a worth that comes from the cross and can never be taken away.