Suffering . . .

So I just started reading through the Bible chronologically. I got the plan from a website rather than buying The Chronological Bible. I'm only a few days in, and I guess I didn't realize that the story of Job happens in the middle of Genesis, chronologically speaking.

I'm in the middle of Job, which is not the "funnest" book of the Bible to read; however, today I did have a realization about suffering. Throughout the book of Job, his friends continue to accuse Job of sin and hypocrisy because they believe that his suffering is a direct consequence of some type of wickedness. Job's friends are really vilified because of their lack of support and understanding.

However, up to this point, all wickedness had been directly (and immediately) punished (the curse of Adam and Eve, Cain's curse for killing Abel, the flood, the scattering of people at the Tower of Babel) and all righteousness had been directly rewarded (Enoch walked with God, Noah and his family were spared from the flood). It is no wonder that Job's friends thought he had sinned.

Yet, the book of Job proves that not all suffering is a direct result of sin. Jesus even corrected his disciples in John 9 when they mistakenly assumed that a man's blindness was the consequence of either his or his parents' sin.

In our world of "fairness" and "equality" it is difficult to understand why people have to suffer for seemingly no reason. The only hope seems to be in God's redemption. He can ALWAYS redeem even the worst situation, demonstrating his power and love in the suffering.

So go - comfort someone who is suffering. Demonstrate God's love and understanding without worrying about the reason for the suffering itself.

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