Suffering

Days of Suffering – Confrontational Moments

By Karen Polich

Job 8-12

Job’s life had just been dismantled by unspeakable loss. Anguish engulfed him. His friends found him, but they brought no encouragement. Instead of comforting Job, they poured out words of confrontation and accusation.

Pastor Michael Cook takes us into the place where God can move confrontation and criticism into something that builds character. Listen to the podcast here. The crisis that comes in the midst of criticism and brutal accusation brings the need to focus on God’s character. It is a time when personal growth can happen in unimaginable ways. God stands in the gap for us when we are in despair.

The character of the critic builds from intimidation and the need to make an impression. The critic attacks you at your weakest. The hits come where you are most vulnerable, seeking to prove that you are wrong or worthless.

Regardless of circumstance, God’s grace runs deep. There is not a single sin our God cannot and will not forgive. God is amazing! He will take that despair and build something beautiful. His character is unwavering.

My dear friends, take note of this; Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. James 1:19

Sometimes we may not be the one in despair, but the friend with the opportunity to bring comfort. Be careful not to share misery or create more hurt. What if the situation is such that God is doing mighty work through the pain and despair? We can learn from Job’s friends what not to do. A true friend will seek to speak life not more destruction.

Confrontational moments will come. Regardless of which side of the situation we find ourselves on, we have a choice. Will we let God build character or will we add to the misery?

Days of Suffering: The Man & the Meeting – Part 2

By Karen Polich

“That’s not fair!”

How many times have you heard that statement? Complaints are waged in the name of fairness by people of all ages. A child will stomp their feet and cry, throwing a fit for all to see, while an adult often looks for justice, digging in their heals with outrage. If we want to see how unfair this broken world is, we don’t have to look far. Sickness, job loss, broken relationships and just bad circumstances name only a few of the unfair struggles we face.

As Christ followers we have a choice. We get to choose how we will approach the unfairness of this world. We can demand and expect life to be fair or we can choose to accept the fact that life isn’t going to be fair all of the time.

Pastor Michael Cook continued with Part 2, The Meeting, in his Days of Suffering sermon series. Pastor Cook gave us truism #1: Life is filled with circumstances that are not fair.

Last week we discovered Job, the man. Now we look at the meeting between God & Satan concerning Job. Listen to the podcast here.

Job 1:6-12

One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan[b] also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.” Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” 12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

We have the luxury of seeing these events with the curtain pulled back, but not Job. Job is living out this situation with no idea that God and Satan have had this meeting. Satan is not just attacking Job, his assault is on the very righteousness of God. God saw Job as blameless. If there was anyone who didn’t deserve bad things happening to him, it was Job. What came upon Job, came without reason. It is a reminder to us that bad things happen to good people without reason.

Days of suffering will come regardless of what we do. How we choose to deal with suffering will define us.

When we live with the idea that we are entitled, we are on a path that takes us into the wilderness of misunderstanding. The unfairness of the cross can be our guide to remembering that life is not going to be fair and suffering will come. We can choose to trust God and the incredible promises He has given us.

How will you choose to face suffering in your life?

 

 

 

 

Days of Suffering: The Man & the Meeting -Part 1

By: Karen Polich

Twenty times Job asked God, “Why?” Twenty times God refused to answer Job’s question.

When we are buried deep in the hole of suffering, we want answers.  “Why?” seems like such a simple question to ask when we don’t understand. We want desperately to make sense of the senseless; we think understanding will somehow lessen the ache that comes with suffering. Perhaps understanding would bring comfort. What if that isn’t so?

Pastor Michael Cook’s latest sermon series, Days of Suffering, brings us to the book of Job. Job 1:1-5 tells us about the man. Spiritually Job is blameless and upright. He walked in obedience with fear of God and shunned evil. Financially he has much. Parentally he stressed his spiritual values into the home and constantly went before God on behalf of his children. Yet Job suffered.

Pastor Cook asked, “What if God’s way of comforting us is actually in those moments when He doesn’t tell us why? Could it be the greatest act of His mercy and grace?” Ecclesiastes 1:18 leads us to a profound thought of what the answer to “Why?” might mean.

 For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief. Ecclesiastes 1:18

Suffering brings many things, but it doesn’t always bring answers. We learn more about who is in control in the midst of our struggles and how to minister to people. We can also learn how to suffer as a child of God.

We will all suffer. Pastor Cook discussed 4 scriptural ways of suffering:

As this sermon series continues, we will learn what it means to suffer. We will learn from God’s Word and the life of Job.  Listen to Pastor Michael Cook’s podcast here.

  1. Persecution

This is undeserved. We see this over and over in the New Testament.

  1. Punishment

Suffering that comes in the deserved consequences when we have done something wrong.

  1. Chastisement

This comes out of God’s love. It is for our growth and to bring what is best for us.

  1. Affliction

Never completely understood in this world, this undeserved suffering is permitted by God. Job never saw his affliction coming.

As this sermon series continues, we will learn what it means to suffer. We will learn from God’s Word and the life of Job.  Listen to Pastor Michael Cook’s podcast here.

Are you engulfed in suffering, struggling with “Why”? Seek God, seek Him with everything.