In our study of Thessalonians we have seen that the Church and founder Paul, lived with affliction and persecution daily. We know how they dealt with them. Job also endured adversity. Today we will see how he handled his and how we should handle ours.
He cannot err–and He cannot be unkind!
(William Purton, “Lessons of Peace in the School of Affliction” 1868)
“Tribulation works patience, and patience experience, and experience hope.” Romans 5:4
When great sorrows came upon righteous Job, he did not complain. There was no word of rebellion against God, when messenger after messenger brought tidings of evil. All his property lost, his servants slain, his sons dead! Yet the good man did not sin, nor charge God foolishly. Dark and mysterious was the painful visitation. Why sore distress came to his house, and grievous sickness to himself–he could not understand. But, out of the depths arose the word of trust; in the midst of his woe, and pain, and loneliness–the bereaved and sorely-stricken soul felt that affliction was the Divine messenger. Job received his burdens from the hand of God. “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21
We, for whose comfort Job’s experience was written, know how it was that the patriarch was afflicted. There was a purpose to be fulfilled–an end to be brought about. We learn that however mysterious our sufferings may be–they are not sent without a wise and loving purpose. Afflictions may be mysterious–but never purposeless.
Oh, for faith to realize that all my troubles come to me in mercy! He cannot err–and He cannot be unkind!
And as I read the Holy Scriptures, may I see how true this verse is, “All whom the Lord loves, He chastens.” So may I learn to take up my cross–and to endure the trials of my lot. And if I am to be an example of suffering affliction–then may God’s will be done–in His way–and in His time!
From restlessness, and impatience, and doubts, and selfishness–good Lord, deliver me!
“Loving Father, show me the mercy of afflictions. Cleanse me from earthly and sensual desires–and strengthen me with trust and heavenly rest. Graciously accept my prayers, O heavenly Father, and help me with true thankfulness to praise You. For Your dear Son Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.”
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Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001