How Do You Respond To Suffering?

“How many iniquities and sins have I committed? Reveal to me my transgression and sin. Why do you hide your face and consider me your enemy?….For you record bitter accusations against me and make me inherit the iniquities of my youth. You put my feet in the stocks and stand watch over all my paths, setting a limit for the soles of my feet.” Job 13:23-24, 26-27 CSB


Job appears to have been wrestling with why he was suffering when he had lived a life pleasing to God. His theology believed that if you lived an obedient life, you received a blessed life from God. That was his experience affirming his belief until tragedy struck. Job’s friends reminded him of his theology by accusing him of sin against God, thus explaining his troubles. Job denied his sinfulness but was left without an explanation for his suffering. Job was a righteous man, the most righteous man on earth, and so was chosen by God to suffer for God, proving to satan that those who genuinely love God will endure suffering without abandoning God. This was Paul’s encouragement in 2 Corinthians 4.17 when he reminded the church that now we suffer light and momentary afflictions, but we will soon be with Christ, reaping eternal joy and life with Him. Paul expected and taught we would suffer as Jesus did if we lived as Jesus lived as a servant of God, seeking and saving the lost. Job desired blessing for obedience, and Paul expected persecution for obedience. Job was miserable, but Paul was joyful. We can ask God why we suffer and become bitter that we are suffering, or we can thank God for suffering for righteousness’ sake and look forward to His reward of all those who suffered as He suffered for obedience and faithfulness to the will of God by doing the work of God. Job or Paul, how do we see God and respond to Him when life seems unfair and unkind?

Leave a Reply