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Suffering and sickness in the Holy Bible – Part 3

By Emeritus Prof. Mercy Olumide
14 November 2021   |   4:05 am
As an opponent of God, Satan received permission to test the genuineness of the faith of a righteous man by afflicting him; but God’s grace triumphed over suffering because Job ...

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As an opponent of God, Satan received permission to test the genuineness of the faith of a righteous man by afflicting him; but God’s grace triumphed over suffering because Job by faith remained steadfast and immovable, even when there appeared to be no physical or temporal benefit in his staying committed to God. (2) God is moved by considerations too vast for the human mind to fully comprehend (37:5); because we do not see with the breadth and vision of the Almighty, we need God’s gracious self-disclosure. (3) The real foundation of faith lies not in God’s blessings, in personal circumstances or in intellectual answers, but in a revelation of God Himself. (4) God sometimes permits Satan to test the righteous with adversity in order to purify their faith and lives, just as gold is refined by the fire (23:10; cf. 1 Pet 1:6-7); such testing results in an increased measure of spiritual integrity and humility in His people (42:1-10). (5) Though God’s dealings at times may seem dark and cruel (as Job himself thought), in the end God is seen to be full of compassion and mercy (42:7-17; cf. Jas 5:11).

Perhaps the most painful question confronting the believer is the problem of suffering. Why does a loving and wise God permit His children to suffer? The Scriptures offer a number of reasons for this. (a) To produce fruit. If we allow suffering to accomplish its purpose, it can bring forth patience (Heb 10:36; James 1:3), Joy (Ps 30:5; 126:6), knowledge (Ps 94:12), and maturity (1 Pet 5:10); (b) To silence the devil. Satan once accused Job of merely serving God for the material blessings involved. But the Lord allowed the devil to torment Job to demonstrate that His servant loved God because of who He was, and not for what he could get from Him (Job 1:9-12; 2:3-7); (c) To glorify God (John 9:1-3; 11:1-4); (d) To make us like Jesus. “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Phil 3:10); (e) To teach us dependence.

This is brought out by both Christ (Jn 15:1-5) and the apostle Paul (2 Cor 12:1-10); (f) To refine our lives (Ps 66:10-12; Prov 17:3; 1 Pet 1:6,7); (g) To rebuke our sin (1 Pet 2:20; 3:17; 4:15). As a faithful earthly father must in love punish his erring child, so does our heavenly Father (Heb 12:5-9); (h) To enlarge our ministry toward others (2 Cor 1:3-7). It has been observed that he who has suffered much speaks many languages (understands others).
Response to Suffering—In the hour of suffering the Christian should attempt to determine first of all just why he may be suffering.
Email:mercyolumide2004@yahoo.co.uk www.thebiblicalwomanhood.com Mobile: +234 803 344 6614; +234 808 123 7987

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