By: Pastor Jarren Rogers
“Sometimes we must accept the pain of faith so as not to lose it. And if that makes the tragedy of the believer more devastating than that of the unbeliever, so be it.” – Elie Wiesel
Yesterday we talked about how bad things can happen to good people just like it happened to Job. But what do we do with that? If hardship isn’t always a result of my decisions and my wrongdoing then what do I do when suffering comes? When we are met with what we feel like are undeserved tragedies, what do we do?
I think we find our answer in the story of Job.
All of Job’s hardships and suffering occurs in the first two chapters. It is in the next 36 chapters that Job wrestles and questions with his friends and with God in regards to his suffering. Job is angry, desperate, and accusatory in his conversations with his friends and his prayers to God. He cried out to God on behalf of his tragedy and asks him to show him the wrong he had done to deserve all of this hardship. He yells out to God, “Why is this happening to me!”
And yet, at the end of Job, God says to Job’s friends, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken the truth about me, as my servant Job has” (Job 42:7).
Even in the midst of his questioning and his wrestling with God, Job was still found blameless. He still had faith. Even when he cried out to God and asked Him why all of this was happening, God says that Job spoke truth.
I think that what Job shows us is that when we experience suffering and tragedy, sometimes wrestling must follow.
Many people see questioning God and wrestling with him as sinful. When we ask questions of God like, “Why are you doing this?” or “Why have you allowed this to happen?” We feel that they are losing their faith in God.
But in truth, what Job shows us, is that faith is found in the wrestling. Rather than extinguishing our faith, questioning and wrestling with God expands it.
The faithless say, “Because there is suffering there can be no God.” The faithful ask, “God, why have you allowed this suffering to happen?”
God is not offended by our anger, our questioning, and our cries, as long as it remains within the bounds of faith. It is through trials and fire that faith is grown and strengthened. But it takes a lot of wrestling and a lot of conversations with God.
We don’t quite understand why exactly bad things happen to good people. We don’t understand why the faithful prayer warrior is stricken with cancer or the Christlike mother loses a child. We don’t know why children are killed in shootings and Christians are slaughtered while they worship. We don’t always know why God allows suffering to come into our lives.
But, through faithful wrestling and difficult prayers, God wants to reveal Himself to us.
God, in the midst of tragedy, help us understand you more.