What consolation do we offer suffering people?
Worse things happen at sea? Count your blessings? Lightning doesn’t strike twice? At least you’re not being shredded by industrial machinery and flung into an acid bath?
God’s got a plan? Gotta keep trusting?
Here’s my favourite: “Nothing a resurrection won’t fix.” Now that’s consolation.
Job is the story of man. Therefore it’s also a story of terrible suffering (and of terrible human comfort). But in the end we learn that there’s nothing a resurrection won’t fix.
Job 1 – Wooded Place, East, Upright Man, Animals, Satan ruins everything.
Remind you of anything?
Satan’s place: Planet earth
Satan’s premise: People only love God if they’re paid.
Satan’s power: Under God’s. The leash is as long as the LORD decides.
But upright man prevails and Satan’s premise is (for once!) proved untrue.
Job 2 – Not just wealth and family, health too. Here come the “Friends”.
Their silence is the best thing they offer.
The trouble comes when they open their mouths.
Job 3:1-5 – How would you summarize? “I wish I was dead.” That’s not sinful!
Burden of Job’s speeches: I really am upright, I really am suffering!
There is such a thing as innocent suffering.
Bad things really do happen to good people just as good things happen to bad people.
Job 4:7-9 How would you summarize? “What goes around comes around!”
We all fall into this fleshly way of thinking. We like to imagine we’re safe if we do good. In fact most of our goodness is simply suffering-insurance. That’s why innocent suffering offends us so much.
Job 8:1-6 Summarize?
Job 11:13. Summarize?
Job 12:1! Sarcasm is great! 16:1-3; 26:1-4
Job 16:16-21 In the midst of suffering we need to know our Witness; Advocate; Intercessor; Friend!
Job 19:17-27: Redeemer; Earth; Flesh; See.
Job 38:1-11,19-21: The LORD shows up! Not with a cup of tea and a shoulder to cry on!
Whirlwind! He humbles Job, makes him see: We can’t weigh it up. We can’t play God:
Job 42:1-6: Job never gets an answer to his why questions (he asks 20 times).
We are simply not in a position to do suffering calculus. We should leave it to the LORD
Job doesn’t get a neat answer. Instead he gets an experience of the LORD and he gets resurrection!
That’s what we really need!
Job 42:7-9 Notice Job’s title: “Servant”. Prays for friends, makes sacrifice, accepted. Remind you of anyone?
This really is the story of man, taken down through Satan into suffering and death, but raised up again through the righteous Servant of the LORD.
Have you been prayed for by Jesus? Have you claimed His sacrifice for your own?
Job 42:10-17 Twice the original. Not just Eden regained – the world glorified.
Redemption – Jemima: Sunshine. Kezia (Cassia): aromatic. Keren-Hapuch: little makeup box.
There’s nothing a resurrection won’t fix!