Why do we pass through sufferings and trials? As Christians, we are not immune to such things; we may feel that we have more than our fair share of troubles. Sometimes as we endure life’s heartaches, we may wonder if our experiences are pointless—do they serve any higher purpose?
The Old Testament book of Job presents a classic case of an upright and God-fearing man suffering in a seemingly unjust way. For centuries, both believers and secular philosphers have considered this story.
After Job lost his children and all his possessions and was struck with painful boils from head to toe, he spoke to God about the reason behind his sufferings: “You have hidden these things in Your heart; / I know that this is with You.” Behind all that he was enduring, Job realized that there was a purpose hidden in God’s heart, a great question to which Job had no answer.
The answer was not revealed until the New Testament age. In the book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul sought “to enlighten all that they may see what the economy of the mystery is, which throughout the ages has been hidden in God, who created all things” (3:9). The economy of God—God’s eternal plan—is for Christ to spread into every part of our heart (v. 17) so that He can be glorified, expressed, through the church (v. 21).
In Philippians, Paul wrote about his own experience: “What things were gains to me, these I have counted as loss on account of Christ. But moreover I also count all things to be loss on account of the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, on account of whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as refuse that I may gain Christ” (3:7-8).
Although Paul suffered as Job did, he turned to the Lord in the midst of his sufferings, opening his spirit to receive the Lord as grace and to be filled with Him. We, too, can have such an experience, no matter what we are going through—turn, open, receive, and be filled. Then, in the midst of hardships and sufferings, we will touch the inexpressible sweetness and value of Christ and magnify Him to those around us.
This is a banner song for the current semiannual training; that is, the lyrics to this song are quoted from the “Key Statements” in the outlines for the crystallization-study of Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes, published by Living Stream Ministry (used by permission). Visit our YouTube channel for the lyric video.