THE SERVANT GENERAL
reading from the book of Wisdom gives us an insight into the
hidden counsel of God regarding suffering in the world. Why
do people suffer in the world? Especially good people? Wisdom
does not answer this directly, but gives us enough understanding
by which we can move on in faith.
we look at certain divine truths. One, that God’s “grace
and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with his
elect.” (Wis 3:9b). Two, that “the souls of the
just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them.”
(Wis 3:1). Here we see the divine wisdom of God’s calling
us to be righteous and just. This is the way by which we will
experience His grace, mercy, care and protection.
if that is so, if “no torment shall touch (us),”
then why do we continue to experience affliction (v.2b), destruction
(v.3), punishment (v.4a), chastisement (v.5a)?
book of Wisdom gives us at least two reasons.
God may be testing us, just like He allowed Job to be tested.
Why? To see, just like in the case of Job, if indeed we will
still be honoring and glorifying Him despite our trials and
crosses in life. To see if we are worthy to be His children,
disciples and instruments of His salvation, and will not turn
away at the first affliction. If we pass the test, then we
will be greatly blessed. “Chastised a little, they shall
be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them
worthy of himself.” (Wis 3:5).
God is purifying us. We are purified by fire. This comes through
affliction. There may be no better way to be purified than
by the fire of affliction. “As gold in the furnace,
he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings, he took them
to himself.” (Wis 3:6). When we are purified as such,
we are formed in the way God desires us to become, and we
become God’s sacrificial offering! We are worthy to
be offered on the altar of God.
suffering is redemptive. It results in our salvation, and
in the salvation of others whose lives God uses us to touch.
“In the time of their visitation they shall shine”
such redemptive suffering results in some great fruit. These
include hope (Wis 3:4), peace (Wis 3:3b), understanding of
truth (Wis 3:9a), blessings (Wis 3:5a), and care from God
(Wis 3:9b). While we may experience such fruit in the ordinary
day-to-day circumstances of our lives, it is affliction and
suffering that bring out the fullness of such fruit.
truly hope when we trust in God despite our situation seeming
hopeless. We truly are peaceful when we rest in God despite
the intense turmoil in the world around us. We develop a deeper
understanding of truth--about God, ourselves and the world--as
we struggle, just like Job, with the trials and crosses that
we encounter. We realize what blessings are, and we recognize
the many blessings we receive, when we encounter deprivation
and affliction. We surrender ourselves totally in God’s
care, when we have reached the end of our human resources.
so such should form our personal attitudes. Today’s
reading from the book of Psalms gives us some direction.
be not afraid. “The Lord is my light and my salvation;
whom do I fear? The Lord is my life’s refuge; of whom
am I afraid?” (Ps 27:1). If the Lord is with us, who
can be against us?!
we are not afraid because we trust in Jesus. The opposite
of fear, in a way, is not courage but rather trust. When we
are afraid, then we lack trust in the God whose child we are
and who is committed to care for us. “Though an army
encamp against me, my heart does not fear; though war be waged
against me, even then do I trust.” (Ps 27:3).
focus on God the Almighty. Desire the only good, and that
is God. Fix our eyes on Jesus, who leads us all the way to
heaven. “One thing I ask of the Lord; this I seek: to
dwell in the Lord’s house all the days of my life, to
gaze on the Lord’s beauty, to visit his temple.”
as we focus on God, we give Him the worship that is His due.
And because God gives us the privilege to enter into His holy
presence, then this gives us great joy. “I will offer
in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and
chant praise to the Lord.” (Ps 27:6b).
given the many afflictions in life, given the temptation to
give up or feel sorry for ourselves, we need to simply endure.
“Wait for the Lord, take courage; be stouthearted, wait
for the Lord.” (Ps 27:14).
we fully trust in Jesus in this way, then we have the key
to a blessed life, free of anxieties, faced confidently despite
affliction, and rejoicing in suffering for the sake of Christ.
bless you all.
to me life is Christ, and death is gain." (Phil 1:21)
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of Job - Part 19[PDF]