Summary: Discover the questions sufferers have asked and the answers they have sought throughout the history of mankind.
THE QUESTIONS OF A SUFFERER
Have you ever seen an angel or heard from an angel? They are all around us, but they don’t often take on physical forms for us to see and hear. This morning, however, you’ll have a chance to see and hear one of God’s angels. His name is Observare. Let me invite him in. (Exit and put on robe. Re-enter.)
Greetings, believers in our Lord Jesus Christ! My name is Observare, and I’m one of God’s many angels. When my Master made me, He made me for a purpose. In fact, everything and everyone He made has a purpose. My purpose is to observe mankind and report on the difference faith in God makes.
I have been observing mankind since the sixth day of Creation. And I have found that mankind’s faith in God makes the most difference in times of suffering and trials. The difference is not that those who have faith do not suffer and have trials. In fact, I have observed that for every unbeliever who has cancer, a believer has cancer. For every unbeliever who has a car accident, a believer has a car accident. For every unbeliever who has marital problems, a believer has marital problems.
The difference is found in the questions each asks in those times. Since most of you are people of faith, let me share with you what I’ve observed in a man named Job. He was a man of faith and suffering. And throughout history, men and women of faith who suffered and faced loss have asked the same questions Job asked.
I was there when the faithful and the rebel angels reported to the Master of Heaven and earth. One of the rebel angels, known as the Accuser, reported that mankind worshipped our Master only because our Master blessed them. The Accuser asserted that if our Master would remove His blessings, mankind would curse our Master.
All the angels waited to see how our Master would respond. With great confidence, He replied, “Have you considered my servant Job? He is honest and true, totally devoted to me and hating evil. Go ahead; remove My blessings from Job, and see that he will still worship Me for Who I am, and not because of my blessings alone.”
The Accuser immediately acted on the Master’s permission. He stole Job’s livestock and killed Job’s servants. The Accuser commanded a tornado to bury Job’s children in their collapsed home. That day Job went from being the most influential man in all the East to the being the most pitied man in all the East.
The loss of wealth Job could stand, but the loss of family was so great that Job fell speechless to the ground. The Accuser awaited the first words from Job’s lips, only to be shocked by Job’s continued worship of God: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, naked I’ll return to the womb o the earth. God gives, God takes. God’s name be ever blessed.”
The faithful angels in Heaven thundered in one voice, “Worthy is our Master to be worshipped!” The rebel angels sneered and regrouped behind the Accuser, who foolishly proposed another challenge to our Master. The Accuser said, “Let me take away Job’s health, and he will curse You to Your face.”
The Master replied: “Go ahead; you can do what you like with my servant Job, but you may not kill him.” So the Accuser covered Job from head to toe with a torturing disease that would make Job wish he were dead. Yet, not once did Job curse God.
But before you think Job’s faith in God kept him poised and gave him great wisdom throughout his suffering, you need to know, Job’s emotions went on a nonstop roller coaster ride. Yet, Job’s experience was recorded in God’s Word, so that none of you would feel like failures in your response to suffering and loss.
Let me read an excerpt from Job’s response to his suffering (Job 9-10).
Job was bold. He didn’t suffer in silence. He didn’t care what other believers thought. He had questions he wanted answers to. And although he did not have the answers, he was asking the right questions.
The first question Job asked was, “How is God responsible for my suffering?” Job believed God was responsible for the loss of his fortune, his family and his health. After all, Job didn’t know about the Accuser, whom you know as Satan. Job figured that since God is all-powerful, God is also culpable.
But I knew something that Job didn’t know. I was in Heaven with our Master. Our Master is all-powerful, but He is not to blame. Our Master did not steal Job’s wealth, kill Job’s servants and children or give Job the disease. He is, however, the One Who eventually restored Job’s wealth, gave Job more children and healed him of his disease.