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  • Eric Kampmann

Persevering in the Face of Suffering

See Job 2:9–10

Job is a righteous everyman: he is prosperous, respected, and generous. He is a good father and a good husband, and he is exemplary in the eyes of God. If this were all, then the story of Job would have been lost. But in the midst of his good life, Job is visited with troubles that all of us quietly fear for ourselves. Job loses everything, and the losses cannot be attributed to anything Job has done. The visitation of pain and deep suffering comes in an instant, and if the story of Job had not revealed to the reader the existence of a heavenly war that initiated the action on Earth, we would remain as dumbfounded as Job by the apparent injustice of it all.

Some of Job’s friends tell him that his suffering is the result of some wrong he had committed against God or man. They believe they understand what is going on, but we are privileged to see a larger picture. The real drama of this story is being worked out in the heart of Job. Will this once prosperous man maintain his integrity of heart in the face of suffering? Or will he follow the admonition of his wife and curse God for all his troubles?

In heaven, Satan had made a similar argument: “A man will give all he has for his own life. But stretch out your hand [he is speaking to God] and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face” (Job 2:4–5).

Will Job turn against God and blame Him for his troubles, or will he remain steadfast? Job answers his wife with a question: “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Faced with the same situation, how would we answer? Will we remain faithful, trusting God in the deepest depths of darkness, or will we abandon our faith because we have come to the conclusion that God has left us to suffer in darkness?

—Eric Kampmann, Signposts

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