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“This is the 2nd part in a mini series on the book of Job (in the Bible), as we answer the question : why do the righteous suffer?
From my last devotion, it is clear that suffering doesn’t necessarily befall us because of sin. In fact, that was one resounding theme in Job. For the righteous, suffering is not directly linked to evil. That was why God rebuked Job’s 3 friends. They believed that bad things happened to bad people, and good things to good people, without exception.
These friends were eventually condemned by God, giving us a clue into what God things about when his people do suffer. There was however one friend of Job that had something wise and commendable to say, this friend was Elihu. Note Elihu stands apart from Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar in the story, yet he is so easily overlooked. In fact, his existence is not realized until the last ¼ of the book of Job.
Elihu counselled Job that suffering is one of the ways God speaks to us. Not that God is the originator of evil, but that through our suffering, God speaks, directs and even corrects. Elihu believed that just as God can speak through a dream, or a vision, surely, he speaks loud and clear through difficult times.
We know this is true. Think about when you have had really severe trials. Didn’t it draw you closer to God? Didn’t you feel the need to pray (And maybe even fast)? Weren’t you more vulnerable, and you found yourself insufficient, and instead, you leaned on the assembly? Surely we can agree that our difficult trials, get our attention and draw as closer to God. And that our faith grows in leaps and bounds during these times. In a nutshell that was what Elihu was saying. Though he repeated his friends belief, he didn’t focus on it. He admitted that there is a possibility that sin causes suffering, but he introduced an option that none of his friends seemed to see.
Suffering narrows our vision to see what truly matters, and can magnify God in the eyes of a believer, drawing us nearer and only to him.
We know Elihu had something unique to say, because he was not reprimanded by God. He also was an unusual voice, because he was the youngest, and he spoke last. It seems as typical with God, he used an unexpected voice, a divine direction, but only for the humble and meek of heart, who would dare to listen.
Are you going through a difficult situation today? It may be that God sovereignly is leading you through this season. He is not surprised by anything that happens to us. Indeed he knows the end from the beginning, the alpha and the omega. Scriptures tells us that Jesus learned obedience through suffering, and could it be that God is teaching you (and I) similar things through our trials. Again I want to reiterate that God is not a vicious military boot camp official, setting up obstacles in our lives to teach us. Nor is he an evil puppet master, tugging at the strings of life, releasing calamities in our way. He is a good God, gracious, compassionate and full of loving kindness. He doesn’t create our difficult circumstances, but leads us through them willfully and knowingly, always and only for our good.
In the end of the book (Job Chapter 42) all things were restored to him. This is a picture of God’s will to lead us out of our painful pressures. Sometimes, I dare say, we don’t receive the fullness of this deliverance until the final restoration in heaven, but always, do we receive his loving hand guiding us through, his precious presence reassuring us all the way to stay the course,
– Pastor Olu Jegede