Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – December 30, 2015
When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite,…saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Job 2:11-12
Jesus came to defeat the enemy by way of suffering on the cross, not by way of inflicting violence on the violent. Man’s violent act toward Christ turned into God’s extravagant love and forgiveness in Jesus. More often than not—I see pictures of innocent American citizens (and other global victims) whose bloody bodies are riddled by bullets or bombs from cowardly terrorists. My heart hurts. My sense of justice is outraged. Where is God in these ungodly acts?
The Lord’s mercy can convert violence into faith in Him. The sword perishes by the sword.
Job’s suffering did not go unnoticed by his friends. Their interaction with Job was a wild ride of comfort, condemnation and conversion. His Gentile friends began by being sympathetic, only to gradually berate Job with accusations of sin hidden behind their perception of punishment for pride. In the end these three arrogant accusers were brought to salvation by the suffering of one (see Job 42:7-9). Similar to our Savior Jesus on the cross, Job remained steadfast for the sake of those who “knew not what they were doing” (Luke 23:34). Salvation in suffering is God’s gift to all who trust.
“It only makes sense that God, by whom and for whom everything exists, would choose to bring many of us to His side by using suffering to perfect Jesus, the founder of our faith, the pioneer of our salvation” (Hebrews 2:10, The Voice).
Does your suffering or someone else’s seem unfair or unnecessary? If so, by faith seek to see the bigger story of Christ’s salvation at work in other needy souls. Our Lord Jesus does not waste pain—just as modern technology generates electricity from recycled landfill waste, so God’s amazing grace can rescue souls buried in a hades landfill of lost love. Instead of seeing injustice as just another needless crime—the Holy Spirit uses injustice to justify those separated from God in their sin. Your long suffering is the Spirit’s opportunity to draw lost souls to Jesus.
So, what does the Lord expect of us in the middle of suffering—our own or another’s? Our heavenly Father’s desire is for His children to draw deeper into Christ’s living water from His well of grace. Satan may try to ambush our trust in Jesus with trials and tribulation or even worse: fame and fortune—but though our body and soul may suffer—we gladly suffer for the sake of the gospel. Suffering is the canvas on which Christ etches His eternal invitation to be with Him.
“Be found in him [Jesus], not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings” (Philippians 3:9-10).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, use suffering in my life to draw me closer to Christ and to draw lost souls to salvation in Jesus.
Application: Who needs my comfort and prayers in the middle of current pain and suffering?
Post/Tweet this today: Suffering is the canvas on which Christ etches His eternal invitation to be with Him. #salvationfromsuffering #WisdomHunters
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