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Then....I shall see God.....

Job 19v27

Job had been bereaved, bankrupted, afflicted with excruciating disease, mis-judged, wrongly accused of betraying God, tormented and criticised unjustly by the people he cared most about. He was wrecked. There was no respite. Each time it looked like the situation couldn't get worse, it did. In all the horrors he had endured, physical and emotional, the most painful and soul-searing was the loss of the presence of God. He utterly was bereft.

There was no obvious hope no prospect of solution for him in this life. Nothing to give him comfort, nothing he could put his faith in. Except that at some stage, beyond this life, he would see, experience, know and be known by God. He didn't dare hope for more immediate relief or blessing.

Job's most admirable trait was not his capacity to endure suffering. He was ultimately so beaten down by his circumstances that he just couldn't handle things particularly well. Rather, his strength of character lay in his refusal to be shaken from his belief in the reality and sufficency of God: he knew somewhere along the line - albeit in the next life - he would connect again with the reality of God. And in that instant, as absence became presence, nothing else would matter: all would be fulfilled, all would make sense.

Suffering is for real. It is bewildering and agonising. Sometimes it just doesn't make sense. It doesn't come as a punishment from God. We are not expected to become proficient or saintly in dealing with it. We are simply encouraged, when the relentlessness of our circumstances is compounded by the seeming absence of God, to hold fast to the hope that somewhere along the line, God will reappear. And that He will be enough.

 

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