Where Is God In My Suffering?

I paced up and down the sidewalk listening to my dad as he made small talk. “Is something wrong?” I wondered, “He knows I am at camp, what is he not telling me?” Then he uttered, with difficulty, words I will never forget; “Ashlee, there is something I need to tell you…Ashlee, mom has breast cancer. It’s very aggressive.” In the moment, just to breathe felt burdensome and tears swelled in my eyes.

For the next year, I watched as my mom endured treatment and surgeries. She endured pain and she persevered through suffering like I had never seen before.

Suffering often makes us wonder where God is. We wonder if He is still moving and working in the background. Sometimes, we even doubt He can overcome whatever is before us.  Let’s take a look at the book of Job and seek out what answers we can find from a man who endured the trials of pain and suffering.

God Knows and is Present.

In Job 1:8-10, we find Satan coming before God. God asks,

“Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil. Then Satan answered the LORD, “Does Job fear God for nothing? “Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.” 

  • Who brought up Job and to whom?
  • What did God say about Job?
  • What are the reasons Satan says he is this way?
  • Who protected Job?

When we wonder if God is present in our suffering, let’s remember God is there. He is present. He is not surprised by our suffering. And yes, He even allows it.

God is Ruling.

“But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.’ Then the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.” So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD.”  Job 1: 11-12 

  • What did Satan suggest to God?
  • How does God respond?

Did you notice that Satan had to ask God for permission to bring suffering upon Job? God allowed Satan to bring suffering to Job, but He also gave Satan perimeters. Satan could only do to Job what God would allow. God is still ruling in the midst of our suffering. Satan does not have more power than the Lord gives him.

Job’s Response to Suffering is Praise.

Please don’t miss what happens in Job 1:20-22.

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head, and he fell to the ground and worshiped. He said,
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I shall return there.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the LORD.
Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.

Every time I read these verses I am completely blown away. Job has just lost his wealth and his children. And Job responds by worshipping God. Job submits to God’s will in the midst of the suffering. Job does not cast blame on God. Job’s first response is not to ask God, “Why? but to tear his robe, shave his head, and worship.

And what is our response to God in the midst of suffering? Do we wonder, “God where are you?” Do we worry about God not being present? Do we fear our situations are out of God’s control? Do we cast blame on Him? Or, do we remember who God is, and simply worship Him?

It’s not foolish to realize the reality of how difficult this is. Yet, Scripture calls us to a high calling in the midst of suffering. Scripture calls us to remember that God knows about our suffering, He is there in the midst of it, He is reigning and ruling, and we can walk in worship.

You see, after I got off the phone with my dad, I walked back into the worship center, full of people singing for joy to the Lord, and my heart utterly broken. Yet, God met me, and reminded me these same lessons from Job. He called me to what was so very difficult at the time and, because Job’s example, I could praise Him in the midst of it. So, I bowed my head, got down on my knees, and I worshipped in the midst of pain and suffering.

 

Ashlee is a native New Mexican. She is the wife of a College Minister, a student ministry leader, and has been involved with Transform Student Ministries for 14 years. She seeks to be a disciple of God and His Word as well as a disciple-maker. She is striving to walk in a manner worthy of the Gospel and to seek the favor of God not men.

 

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