Summary: Innocent People experience pain and suffering and it is through pain and suffering that we know the suffering of Christ and others.
Title: Innocent Pain and Suffering
Text: Job 1 and 2
Thesis: Innocent people experience pain and suffering.
This is the third message in a Lenten Series: Knowing Christ through Pain and Suffering.
The Apostle Paul wrote, I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his suffering, becoming like him in his death and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection of the dead. Philippians 3:10-11
Perhaps you remember William “the Refrigerator” Perry who was a defensive lineman for the Chicago Bears in 1985. He was an enormous and friendly man with a big grin. He played in the trenches of professional football against the largest and meanest of men. But he was afraid to go to the dentist. For twenty years he did not go to the dentist… his gums became infected and he lost half of his teeth… pulling many himself. He was experiencing pain and suffering. Finally when he could no longer stand the discomfort, he went to the dentist who then implanted $60,000 worth of new teeth into his jaw.
The Frig was not an innocent victim. He was in pain and suffering because he did not go to the dentist for twenty years.
It may be presumptuous to assume that Douglas Bruce feels a bit like the innocent victim after having been censured by the Colorado House of Representatives for kicking a photographer who took his picture in January. Adding insult to injury he was removed from the State Veterans and Military Affairs Committee after declining to sign a Military Appreciation Resolution because he thought the resolution was trivial. His colleagues and the chamber full of army, navy, and marine men and women in uniform were less than impressed.
Sometimes we deserve what comes to us in life… but sometimes we don’t.
This Thursday past, Stephen Kazmierczak stepped into a University of Northern Illinois lecture hall, killed six students and wounded sixteen others before taking his own life. In Islamabad, Pakistan a suicide bomber took the lives of twenty-seven victims and wounded ninety others.
Innocent people suffer. By innocent, I do not mean they are without sin. I mean they are essentially victims of circumstances seemingly beyond their control. They have done nothing to bring pain and suffering upon themselves.
Job was such a person. Christ suffered. We suffer. In pain and suffering there is solidarity… we understand the experience of Job, Jesus, and others when we are innocent victims of pain and suffering.
The story of Job’s suffering is a universally known story of unfair suffering.
I. No one, not even the undeserving, is immune from pain and suffering.
A. Good people experience pain and suffering.
• There was a man named Job who lived in the land of Uz. He was blameless, a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil. Job 1:1 (God corroborates the evidence of Job’s good character in 1:8.)
People with money and means suffer…
B. Affluent people experience pain and suffering.
• Job had seven sons and three daughters. He owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 teams of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and he employed many servants. He was in fact the richest person in the entire area. Job 1:2-3
Even godly people suffer…
C. Spiritual people experience pain and suffering.
• Job would purify his children. He would get up early in the morning and offer a burnt offering for each of them. For Job said to himself, “Perhaps my children have sinned and have cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular practice. Job 1:4-5
Job was good, he was rich, and he was godly… but none of those things insulated him from experiencing pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering is not the exclusive territory of the rich and powerful. The nine year old girl who get dropped off at her father’s house with a note from her mother telling her ex-husband that she doesn’t want to take care of the kid anymore is not rich and powerful. The grandmother who learns that her grandson has an inoperable mass in his stomach is not rich and powerful. The displaced family that cannot pay their rent is not rich and powerful. The child born with a birth defect is not rich and powerful. The soldier wounded in a roadside bombing is not rich and powerful. Just as a single drop of food coloring colors the whole glass of water… suffering colors the whole of society.
If the story of Job teaches us anything, we learn that anyone can be a target for pain and suffering.
II. Anyone can be a target of Satanic attack.
• One day the angels of the Lord came to present themselves to the Lord, and Satan the Accuser came with them. “Where have you come from?” the Lord asked Satan. And Satan answered, “I have been going back and forth across the earth watching everything that is going on.”