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When Suffering Strikes Out Of The Blue



"Oh, that I knew where I might find Him, that I might come to his seat! I would present my case before him, and fill my mouth with arguments. I would know the words which he would answer me, and understand what he would say to me." Job 23:4-5 Have you ever been in the middle of a trial and the heavens seemed like brass? Your whole soul is desperate to hear from God, but it's as though he is not there. Such was the case in the life of Job as he cried out to God and received no answer. vs 8: “Look, I go forward, but he is not there, and backward, but I cannot perceive him;" Job was severely afflicted. He lost everything, and to make matters worse, he was suffering from boils all over his body. He maintained throughout the story that he was a faithful believer who had done nothing to deserve the terrible loss and afflictions which came upon him and which were beyond his ability to understand. He searches for God but "he is not there." He descends into despair, brought low and helpless. Yet throughout this story, Job remained faithful no matter how severe the suffering. Friends came and suggested that he must have done something so terrible that it would bring on such suffering to him. Rather than comfort him, they accused him of pride, so that Job found no encouragement or comfort ...anywhere, from anyone. Brothers and sisters, this is the normal life of the believer. We will all experience this. God allows us to be tested by severe trials and at that time he seems far away. We're left staggering in the dark. We find no recourse, no comfort, no encouragement and we are brought low. Every true believer has experienced this and is shocked by it, and it often comes at a time when we were living rightly before God and serving him. It just comes out of the blue. Yet our appeals seem to vanish into thin air and we're left helpless. Perhaps the most important thing to remember during such times is that God IS there although it appears that he isn't. He IS paying close attention, VERY close attention, to his son or daughter who is suffering, although it appears as though he doesn't care. Oh he cares! He cares very much. And his perceived absence does NOT mean his disapproval, nor does it mean that the ordeal is judgment. Job was a righteous man, a totally faithful believer, a man of prayer, and that made his trial seem beyond understanding. When we're in sin and judgment comes, we know it's to bring us to repentance. But when we're NOT in sin and trials come, that's when the confusion and resentment is the greatest and that's exactly what Job kept saying: vs 12: "I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my necessary food." The thing to remember is that there is a purpose for our suffering, and that it is appointed for a certain time and after that it will come to an end. Later when we look back upon it, we will gain some understanding and see what fruit was obtained through it all, what maturity, what change within. Most often, the terrible trial will precede a great blessing. Before Jesus began his ministry, he went out into the desert and experienced great trials, harassment, and temptation from Satan himself. Read about it in Matthew chapter 4. Immediately upon returning from the desert his tremendous ministry began. Someone once said, "the greater the blessing, the greater the call, the greater the trial before it." The suffering saint is dear to the heart of God. Our trials produce such tremendous growth in us that the end result is pure gold in the eyes of God. vs 10: "But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I shall come forth as gold." In the end, God restored to Job double of all he had lost. Also ...he was vindicated in the eyes of his "friends." Brothers and sisters, hang in there, the trial will come to an end and in the meantime KNOW that God IS with you and has everything under his control. You will come forth as gold and the tremendous blessing of God will come upon you. And you will be restored. " ...that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ..." 1 Peter 1:7