17 Aug Words of Grace – Seeing God in Suffering
“I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you.” Job 42:5
From the start of Job’s suffering, he and his friends engaged in long discussions about its causes and remedies. They debated what they believed were the fundamental principles that govern the world and describe the way God works. They argued over Job’s responsibility in his suffering. Eventually, things got personal and they became petty toward each other.
In their limited understanding of life and their narrow application of truth, Job’s friends lost sight of God. To them, God was a fixed and rigid principle operating in the human affairs. Job, understandably, lost sight of the God who was on his side. Job thought God was against him.
Then God spoke to Job. When we read what God said in Job 38-41 we might think that God is being overly harsh toward Job. God questioned Job and called him to account. But what seems harsh to us had the effect of opening Job’s eyes to see God.
God spoke to Job in questions. He asked Job if he was present at creation and if he could control the heavens and the earth. Could Job order the lights above and the waters below to stay in their place and within their boundaries? Could Job give care to the creatures of earth and command them to do his will?
Why these questions to a suffering man? Job’s greatest need was to see God. Job himself said that he had heard of God with his ears, but that now he sees him. At the end of Job’s suffering, he was given a vision of the power and wisdom of God in creation, and he understood that this God was purposeful and powerful in his suffering. He saw that God was for him, not against him. For Job, that vision was his help in time of need.
We live this side of the cross of Jesus Christ. We can see God’s power and wisdom in creation, as Job did. But we can see more than he did. We see the cross of Jesus Christ. When we look to the cross of Christ we see the power of God to turn suffering into our salvation. We see the wisdom of God to carry out a plan of redemption. The mercy and grace of God are revealed in Christ’s suffering because forgiveness and reconciliation are provided at the cross. We see in Christ’s suffering and death the defeat of sin and the end of all suffering.
The cross of Christ is the vision we keep in our minds while we suffer, because at the cross we see the God who is on our side. God is not against us in our suffering. He is for us. The cross is the evidence.
Today, look to the cross of Christ to see God. Pray for someone who is suffering that they may see God in the cross and know that he is on their side. Pray this weekend and our gathering for worship on Sunday.