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Discover the Limitless Power of God's Name. So much of our confusion and pain because we don't know God -- who He really is, how He works in our lives. When you know God more fully by studying His names -- Creator, Healer, Protector, Provider, and many others -- you'll gain power to stand strong. You'll find strength for times of trial, comfort for pain, and provision for your soul's deepest needs.
Trouble suffocates me.
Worry entangles me. The burden of suffering is intolerable. Where is God? Does He know, or are my prayers heard only by the wall?
Is He near, or somewhere distant, only watching? Their intentions may be good, but they are hard to bear. God is just as helpless as you are, and He weeps to see your sorrow. Has God forgotten me? Does He hate me?
Why does He seem to hide Himself? I am weary of my comforters, tired of His defenders. I want God to answer me in person. If only I could state my case before Him and hear His answer! There was once a man who did that. His name was Job. He too was plagued with so-called comforters and defenders of God, but he demanded a hearing from God Himself, and God answered him. The history of the incident is told in great detail in the Bible. Job is blameless and upright, a man of such integrity that even God likes to show him off.
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If anyone deserves blessings, Job does. Yet one day God puts him to the test. Raiders sweep his fields; his livestock are captured or destroyed; his servants are put to the sword; a house collapses on his sons and daughters and kills them all. Disease strikes him, and he is covered with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head.
For days they sit with him in silence, seeing how greatly he suffers. Finally Job can contain himself no longer.
In a torrent of grief and protest, he cries, wishing that he had never lived. The terrible curse demeans all the good in his life; it implies that his joy, his home, his peace, and the lives of his children had never meant a thing, just because now they are gone.
On and on they lecture him; they cannot scold enough. Suffering, they say, is punishment for sin. The greater the sin, the greater the suffering. Since Job is in agony, he must have done something terrible to deserve it. Obviously, then, he is covering up.
He only pretends to be just; he is really a hypocrite. If only he would confess and take his punishment, God would forgive him and relent — but instead, like a fool, he complains. To hear these accusations is unbearable to Job. He rages in grief, defending himself and denouncing his friends. Against God, his complaints are even more bitter — and inconsistent.
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One moment he wants God to leave him alone, the next moment he wants Him to listen. One moment he declares himself guiltless, the next moment he admits that no man is. Yet through it all, he insists that his suffering is undeserved, and he demands that God give him a hearing. In the end, Job gets his hearing.
God answers from the heart of the whirlwind. Meeting God turns out to be nothing like just hearing about Him. But Job is satisfied. There are two amazing things about this face-off.
The first is that God never explains to Job the reason for his suffering. Can he bind the stars of the constellations? Job has challenged the Creator of the mind, but does he comprehend even the mind of the ostrich? He sides with Job. It seems impossible. But there cannot be any mistake. Even though God humbles Job, not once does He express anger toward him.
Yet toward his friends, God declares that His anger blazes out. He says that He will not forgive them until Job has prayed for them. And why? Job What truth could Job have spoken?
Not all suffering is our fault. We do bring some suffering upon ourselves: Adulterers destroy their homes, drunks their livers, wasters their wealth. Yet the innocent suffer too. In His justice, God understands that this will seem unjust to us.
Instead, He visits us, as He visited Job. Is He not God? Indeed, He is the only possible answer. Though we find ourselves buried in a deeper dark than night, from the midst of the whirlwind, He speaks. He only watches. In all our thoughts about suffering, we have sidestepped the main issue and focused on the secondary issue.
To be frank, we human beings are wrecks. The external troubles that we blame on God are the least of our suffering.
Something worse is wrong with us, and it is wrong with us inside. We not only do wrong, but call it right. Even the good things in us become polluted. We may long to love purely, but our desires turn into idols that control us. Could you perform surgery on your own eyes? How could you see to do it? Suppose you tore off both hands; could you sew them back on?
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Without hands, how could you hold the instruments? Our sin-sickness is something like that. Many philosophies teach about right and wrong with pretty fair accuracy. However true, no mere philosophy can do that. Our cancer requires more than a philosophy. Jesus was God Himself in human flesh — fully God, but fully man. Most people have heard that He taught, performed miracles, healed the sick. Most people have heard that He was executed on a Cross and rose again.