Summary: Let’s take a moment to see how like Job we can claim power through suffering.
The Power of Suffering
What we learn from Job
There is in the human condition a power that is often untapped. This power is suffering. Suffering is the human condition. No person who has lived or will on the earth will be exempt from difficult and trying times. Death comes to us all, and to our loved ones, in various ways and age. The power of suffering for a person comes through endurance, perseverance, and joy. For many this power remains dormant through seasons of suffering because we simply give in to the temptation to submit to the pain whether emotional, physical or both, instead of to God and give up our faith, and/or we tend to blame God, and we also worry about things we have no control over.
Consider what happened to Job. All of Job's possessions are destroyed; 1000 livestock stolen, 7000 of his sheep were burned up by a ‘fire from the sky’ possibly a reference to lightning, or maybe it was a literal fire, Job’s 3000 camels were also stolen, and his oldest son’s house collapsed during a windstorm killing all of Job’s kids who were inside at the time.
Job was a wealthy man who was politically connected, sincerely charitable and totally dedicated to the worship of God. God says of Job, “He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.” Job 1:8
That’s quite a compliment coming from God. From time to time I have conversations with folks who when going through a tough time will reference Job in their experience. Usually they say something like, “I’m going through a Job moment” or “It seems like I’m being picked on like Job.” Have you ever said something similar? I would caution you to first look at Job’s character and the kind of guy God said he was before you start comparing yourself or your situation to his. Would God say you are the finest of all people on earth? Would He define you as blameless? Would He characterize you as someone with complete integrity? Do you fear God, and stay away from evil?
God’s definition of Job’s character is proven through his suffering. Job doesn’t succumb to the same temptations than many people do. He didn’t give up on His faith in God, he never blamed or cursed God but instead he shaves his head, tears his clothes and proclaims "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will return: The Lord has given, and Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of Lord."
Let’s take a moment to see how like Job we can claim power through suffering. For some the truths of God’s Word this morning will have an immediate impact because of suffering being endured in the moment. For others, you might store these truths deep in your heart, because you will at some point in your human experience endure seasons of suffering.
1. Never under any circumstances give up faith in God and in His power
Suffering is one vehicle that allows us an opportunity to display the power of God in our lives by how we react to it. If we respond to our suffering with undeterred faith, endurance and joy, and we showcase the power of the Holy Spirit as we are given strength and comfort we are providing an unparalleled testimony to those in our circle of influence of our undying devotion to Jesus and the Father.
Job 1:21 - “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The LORD gave me what I had, and the LORD has taken it away. Praise the name of the LORD!”
The Thessalonian Christians were enduring unbearable persectution. Paul had planted churches all over Asia minor and one place he planted a church was in Thessalonica. He warned each church he started that persecution would soon follow, and it always did. The Romans hated Christians because they didn’t worship Caesar and they were considered a threat to the empire and it’s peace. The locals hated Christians because they were considered bad for business, and bad luck in general. Christians didn’t buy shrines or idols and they didn’t make pilgrimages to temples and spend money on trinkets. Because they didn’t support or participate local pagan worship , which was a significant part of the economy they were outcasts. Also anytime a natural disaster occurred locals blamed Christians who refused to worship the god who caused it. And the Jewish Christians were particularly hated by the rabbi’s and teachers of the Jewish law in every community, because they were considered traitors of their faith. Paul wrote most of his letters for four basic reasons. He needed to share with Jewish Christians that gentiles didn’t have to become Jews to be followers of Jesus. He wanted to encourage each church with the truth of their salvation and reward in Jesus to motivate them to stay faithful in suffering from persecution. He felt compelled to make sure that the sovereignty and diety of Christ was protected from any false teaching that said otherwise. And he taught the local church how to conduct itself through it's leaders and practice.