Summary: How Do I worship while suffering? 1. Worship while you mourn. 2. Thank God for what He’s given. 3. Maintain your integrity. 4. Surround yourself with supportive friends.
Title: Can I Prevent Suffering?
Text: Job 1.20-2.13
Series: Job: The Mystery of Suffering
Raymond Maurer, New Life Christian Church, Wixom, MI
www.NewLifeWithGod.com. E-mail me if you would like the Power Point Slides (Ray@NewLifeWithGod.com).
A little girl was walking through her neighbor’s garden when she noticed a particularly beautiful flower. She admired its loveliness and enjoyed its fragrance. As she gazed on it, her eyes followed the stem down to the soil in which it grew. She said to herself, “this flower is too pretty to be planted in such dirt!” So she pulled it up by its roots and ran to the sink to wash away the soil.
It didn’t take long for the flower to wilt and die. The girl was so upset she brought the dead flower to the gardener next door. As he saw her coming he said, “What have you done with my finest plant?” She said, “I’m sorry, but I didn’t like it in that dirt.” The gardener replied, “I chose that spot and mixed the soil because I knew that only there could it grow to be a beautiful flower.”
God gives us the same message through the book of Job…and through our own Job-like experiences.
Last week we began a series on the book of Job. We’re learning about the Mystery of Suffering and the sovereignty of God. We’re going to see how God uses our pressures, trials, and difficulties to bring us to a new degree of spiritual beauty.
As we read the book of Job, we are given behind-the-scenes information that Job never knew. Job had no idea his suffering was part of a heavenly battle between God and Satan. God will win the battle. We know this if we read the end of the Bible…Revelation tells us God wins. And we win if we’re on God’s team.
Last week, we also saw that God is all-powerful. Satan can only cause suffering that God allows.
We tacked a few questions:
• Can I prevent suffering? No, even the righteous suffer.
• How should I respond to suffering? Expect it. Be honest about the pain and live by faith and God’s power.
Throughout this series we’re going to see something that most of us are uncomfortable with: There is always a Mystery to Suffering. We want answers. God makes it clear that Job wasn’t meant to understand all of the mysteries of suffering.
The book of Job isn’t about answering all of our questions. His friends tried to do this, and we’ll try to answer a few questions in this series, but part of suffering will always be a mystery.
There is one question that we’re going to tackle today. Something that we learn from Job. How do I worship while suffering?
1. WORSHIP WHILE YOU MOURN
Job received the devastating news that he had lost all of his wealth, and all of his employees. But it isn’t until he heard that all ten of his children were dead that Job began to mourn.
“20 Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised.” 22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing” (Job 1.20-22, NIV).
When the sun came up this day, Job was the wealthiest man in the east. When the sun set Job mourned in poverty. Satan said he would curse God when his riches were taken away. Satan said his religion was an inch deep. It was a mere contract: as long as God blessed him he would worship the Lord. Job shows us how to worship while you mourn. The blessings have disappeared, Job’s children are gone, and Job is still worshipping!
He’s also mourning. Following the customs of his day, he tore his clothes “symbolizing inner turmoil and shock.” He shaved his head “depicting the loss of his personal glory” (Walvoord, John; Zuck, Roy, etal. The Bible Knowledge Commentary. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983-c1985).
He expressed his feelings. You need to do this when you’re suffering. You need to honestly express what you’re feeling. If you hold it inside it will only destroy you more. You need to share it with others, and share it with God. Job didn’t fall to the ground “in despair, but in obedience to God, Job worshiped” the Lord in this painful moment (ibid).
This is amazing. Have you ever instinctively worshipped the Lord in the midst of suffering? Instead of worshipping the One who can make a difference, we try to fix things ourselves. Or we try to figure out what we could have done differently… or what someone else could have done differently.