And Not Accept Adversity?

Introduction to Job

Job was a righteous man who loved, worshiped, and served God with his life. But, one day God allowed Satan to come after Job with all kinds of trials and tribulations. He lost nearly everything, including his children, his servants, and his livestock. And, then God allowed Satan to inflict Job’s body with all kinds of sores. But, in all this, Job did not sin against God. He said, “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?”

Then Job’s friends came to comfort him in his grief. At first, they did right. They wept over his suffering, demonstrated sincere sympathy, and they sat with him in silence for seven days, for they saw that his suffering was great. But, after the seven days, Job began to lament his suffering, and even to lament that he had been born. And Job began to question the justice of it all.

Then Job’s friends began to speak, but not words of comfort, but words of accusation. They accused Job of being unrighteous and of his suffering being a result of sin in his life. Yet, how many times do the righteous suffer greatly while the unrighteous go relatively free from difficulty and suffering? Job’s friends were making a wrong assumption, and were falsely accusing him, and this only added to his grief instead of helping to alleviate his suffering.

Job 19:13-22 NASB

“He has removed my brothers far from me,
And my acquaintances have completely turned away from me.
My relatives have failed,
And my close friends have forgotten me.
Those who live in my house and my servant women consider me a stranger.
I am a foreigner in their sight.
I call to my servant, but he does not answer;
I have to implore his favor with my mouth.
My breath is offensive to my wife,
And I am loathsome to my own brothers.
Even young children despise me;
I stand up and they speak against me.
All my associates loathe me,
And those I love have turned against me.
My bone clings to my skin and my flesh,
And I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth.
Pity me, pity me, you friends of mine,
For the hand of God has struck me.
Why do you persecute me as God does,
And are not satisfied with my flesh?”

Can you identify with Job in any of this? I can, at various times in my life, although not usually as a result of physical suffering but as a result of my walk of faith in my Lord Jesus, although I have had plenty of physical suffering, too. But I have been accused falsely of sin when I did not sin, and my opponents were just as persistent as were Job’s, at times. I have had friends walk out of my life and want nothing more to do with me. And I have had family members reject me and not approve of me.

I have felt like I don’t belong anywhere, and I have had people tell me that I should go someplace else where I would be a better fit, or that if I was one of them, then they would listen to me, or if I waited until I had gray hair on my head (I was told in my early 30’s), then people would listen to me. I have been invited out of small groups and some institutional churches, but not because I sinned, but just because I was different from them and I didn’t fit with their marketing schemes and with their worldly teaching.

I have been mocked, and made fun of, and criticized, and called names, and ignored, and fought against. And I have lacked in spiritual, moral, and emotional support from others who also profess faith in Jesus Christ. I know what it is like to feel sometimes as though I am all alone, although I know I am not. I know what it is like to be treated with disrespect and dishonor. And I know what it is like to have those I love turn against me. And I am well experienced in physical suffering, too.

Yet I do understand, as Job did, that our God is fully sovereign over all that he has made and that nothing can touch us but what God allows it, like God allowed Satan to inflict Job with all these sores. And I understand that God disciplines those he loves (Hebrews 12:1-13), and that discipline is painful, but that God disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness, and so that when we have been trained by it, afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

This, however, does not excuse away other humans treating us unkindly and with disrespect and with rejection or mocking or abandonment, etc., especially if they profess faith in Jesus. But when we understand that God is sovereign and that he allows these things in our lives for our good, it brings us peace and comfort. Yet God is not giving approval to what people are doing against us. He opposes those who willfully mistreat his servants. And one day he will judge them for their evil, unless they repent of their sins.

And I am not looking for pity. I shared some of my experiences to say that I identify with Job in some of his sufferings, therefore I can feel some of what he felt. And some days I still feel some of what is described here. And by me sharing what I did, perhaps you identified with some of what I felt, because you have experienced some of the same. And so perhaps this served as an encouragement to you so that you know that you are not alone, and that there really is a purpose for your suffering, and that it is for your good.

[Matt 5:10-12; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; Jn 15:1-21; Jn 16:33; Jn 17:14; Ac 14:22; Rom 5:3-5; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 2 Tim 3:12; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; 2 Co 1:3-11; Heb 12:3-12; 1 Jn 3:13; Rev 6:9-11; Rev 7:9-17; Rev 11:1-3; Rev 12:17; Rev 13:1-18; Rev 14:1-13]

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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