I was roused from my sleep at 4 in the morning with a daunting question: “Will I ever survive the test the Lord let Job go through with Satan himself as his tormentor?” I have gone through all the way in the book of Job since Bible 365 reading guides passed by it. I reflect on all 20 years of my life seeking for that “Job” moment which has changed my life completely. Job indeed is a Biblical – figure I confess to be someone I don’t really much understand. Imagine having to go through the worsts of trials one may ever find in. God tests us through many struggles so that He may find us faithful even in the end.
Months ago, I wrote in this same journal about the Theology of Suffering which affects lives of Christians everywhere around the world. Its not surprising enough that people veer away from the thoughts of suffering. For some, suffering is an indelible mark of shame while for some church groups, they even put suffering at the center of their theology as a mark of an unbeliever. For years, I have been battling the idea of suffering in the light of God’s will. For the faint of heart and the weakest of spirits, suffering will remain a “hole” in their idea of God or a “god”. I believe so personally that suffering occupies a special place in Christianity since our Savior itself has gone through a lot of suffering, not just the suffering at the cross but suffering in the fact that One omnipotent Being is now a helpless baby laid in a wastebasket as such of a manger.
Suffering is far from being a mark of an unbeliever or an obstacle in the existence of a loving God. It is always in keeping for the fact that countless suffering, especially that of Job edifies a Creator that is not just a Ruler but Savior Himself. The experiences of Chinese or North Korean Christians for example are a testament to the fact that suffering is an opportunity for God to show His mighty power upon an oppressed people. For from being a torment to unbelievers, the testimony of their suffering, their blood and tears became the very mortar that builds the body of Christ in their native land.
It is only in Christianity that you can see a living Deity bother to experience what His own creation feels and be shamed more than any of His creation can bear. Suffering is a common experience that cuts across our experience and that of the triune God. God the Son Himself felt hunger, thirst, humiliation and impending death; God the Father experienced the loss of a Son (albeit temporarily) and; God the Holy Spirit Himself experiences grief and loss at the sins of His people. Does suffering diminish God’s power? No. Suffering is a vessel itself for God to show His awesome love for us. It is in suffering that He can connect to us the most because it is an experience that is most common between Him and us.
Job’s story still remains an antithesis to our very idea of suffering. His experience is something we may not even bear enough but in our own experience of suffering, we can relate to Job on how our faith can be tested and strengthen. We may not look forward to another round of suffering but if they should arrive, let us take this as an opportunity that we have a God that is personal, a loving Father who knows our very thoughts, minds and feelings. As we look to that “Job” moments at some point of our life, may we never forget that God can feel your suffering because He Himself was “tested” in this.