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Summary: Job shows us how great our suffering can be and how we are able to process it.

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Introductory Considerations

1. I felt trapped. "Was there any way out of my situation?" I was tired and discouraged. People were depending on me but I had nothing more to give to them. When I tried to share my pain some people offered a quick word of comfort but they really did not have the time to really listen. Even those close to me tried to care but they could not really do anything about what I was feeling. Each day I went through the motions but my heart was far from what I was doing. I just wished I could get away from it all. I felt like a phoney - I was a Christian, a minister - there was no way that I should be feeling this way. I should have been rejoicing in the Lord. I was experiencing what is know as burnout and it made my life a living hell, and I times I just wished it had been over.

2. While I wish I could say I woke up one morning and all was well, the battle back to health was long, lonely and hard.

3. Each one of us can share an experience that we would rather forget. At one time or another we have experienced suffering

3. Each of our experiences unique and as individuals we each react differently. The loss of a parent may cause suffering in their children, but each grieves a little differently. Some remain calm, some cry loudly and some may even laugh or joke to try and deal with pain. Some people share the deep anguish they feel openly while others keep it to themselves.

4. The book of Job deals with suffering. So far we have looked at how to help others in their suffering and we have learned how suffering glorifies God, but this evening we look directly at our own suffering and what it does to us.

5. We look at how hard it is to deal with and yet how we may get some insights to deal with our suffering.

6. I see many - whether Christians or not - that deal with suffering in one of two extreme way. Some do nothing but focus on their suffering (all they think of, all they talk about. I’m afraid to ask "How are you?" because the response will be overwhelming.) Others never even show they are suffering or whisper about it. You see they are in pain and ask them "How are you?" and the answer is simply "fine".

7. This evening I don’t suggest we dwell on our suffering but I ask that we also do not deny it .

Teaching

1. First we consider how Job was suffering. As we do, think if you relate to aspects of His suffering. Important because to admit suffering is healthy in that it is first step in seeking relief and it opens us up to God and His comfort.

2. Job is feeling - anguish - a deep pain that takes over his whole being. (Job 7:1-6). vs. 5 - the physical suffering - worms in his scabs. I have a brother-in-law - soft tissue injury - just eats away at him. I can see suffering in his face. Physical pain can be constant and, sharp.

3. We have different thresh-holds. It affects us emotionally etc.. It can cause sleepless nights. Job cannot even escape pain with sleep - always there.

4. Job suffers because he sees no end in sight. A slave or hired man can look forward to the rest which comes with the evening shadows or to the wages that make the work worthwhile, but Job’s suffering has been for months. There is no end in sight, no light at the end of the tunnel.

5. Job feels that there is nothing he can do about his suffering. (Job 9:14-19). God has ordained this for him and God will not listen and who is he to argue before God? It is one thing when the doctor says that we can change our lifestyle overcome an illness or offer medicine, it is another when he says that we must simply endure the pain - eg. arthritis

6. Job 12:4. What adds to our suffering is how others treat us. We have seen already with how Job’s friends tried to help but ended up arguing with Him and Job ended up feeling worse. Seen how people who are deaf and dumb are not thought of as smart, how person dying in hospital is talked about as if they were not there. We look at people who suffer or have certain illnesses differently than we do to healthy people. "Boy, what did they do to deserve that?" We see people who struggle with spiritual matters - unforgiveness, sin, doubt and it is easy to think they are deficient in their faith in comparison to ourselves. When we are suffering we feel like an outsider. A shut-in not only suffers their illness, but the sense of being different, being on the sidelines.

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