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Our hope in time of suffering
October 22, 2012
by Rev. Michael Nirva, St. James Lutheran Church, Howard Lake

The Word of the Lord, from Job 5:6-7. “For hardship does not spring from the soil, nor does trouble sprout from the ground. Yet man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.”

Suffering’s language is understood by all. Even though we do not understand the spoken word of other races and people, yet we know full well if they are in anguish or pain.

Suffering is universal. It comes to young and old, to rich and poor, to the wise and to the uneducated, to men and women, and to children. The animal world also suffers. Even Christians are subject to pain and sickness and suffering.

That believers should suffer as much as the ungodly, and sometimes more than they, surprises many. The world therefore claims that suffering comes to the Christian because he is insincere, that God is using this means to expose his hypocrisy.

Job, perfect and upright, had walked with God and had avoided evil. Then, in one day, he lost his entire fortune. But that was not all – his sons and daughters were struck dead (Job 1:18-19), and Satan afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head.

His wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:7-9) Job’s own wife advised him to take his own life.

Job’s friends came to cheer him, but intimated that Job was being exposed by the Lord God for secret sins. That was the only answer they had to explain these misfortunes.

Suffering is universal. No one is immune. We Christians, however, should not emphasize the suffering of this present world or give ourselves to worrisome brooding. After all, suffering is but for a short time. Paul says to the Romans: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Rom. 8:18)

When suffering comes to the believer, he can face it courageously and with confidence because of God’s promises. The Lord will not allow him to endure more than he can bear. God always gives him sufficient strength to carry on. “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

We all face suffering in one form or another because we are born to trouble and affliction, due to sin, to our own as well as to that of others. What are we then to do, as we face suffering? Go to Jesus, the compassionate Savior, and our Friend in every trouble.

In every troubled situation of life, our mind must first be put to ease. Forgiveness, which reconciles us to God by removing sin, makes every burden lighter and enables us to bear our pain with greater ease. If we have a good conscience, we can face life with greater courage.

Our faith in our compassionate Savior makes our outlook brighter for we know that He is gracious and merciful through the cross, and will not let us perish. As believers, we must face eternity unafraid, for there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us continually from our sin.

The compassionate Savior promises His abiding presence every day of our lives. We need not worry about tomorrow, for He will be there to give us the needed strength to endure. His love will not place greater burdens than we are able to carry upon us. No matter how great our suffering, be it of body, mind, or soul, we can go to Him and know that He does not close the door of mercy upon us.

Jesus is the lover or our soul and the keeper of our bodies. Therefore, let us go to Him, the Savior of sinners, the Friend of the troubled, and at His wounded side sob out all our troubles. Jesus touches us with His healing and helping hand. One day, Jesus will take us home to heaven, where we will stand in His joyful presence forevermore. Amen.