Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Facing Trials: Job 
What is the purpose of this story? It is about pain and suffering and God and faith.
Depending on the individual and the circumstances, God can use suffering for various reasons.
Suffering can be viewed as part of punishment for unbelievers. Used in this way, the word means to suffer with no beneficial intent or results.
As an example, when God destroyed all life on earth except Noah and his family in the Flood, it was definitely a judgment upon wicked mankind. The Lord had granted 120 years of grace for people to repent, but they did not turn to Him. Then he destroyed them all in an obvious punishment for sin.
God's other use of suffering is for the believers, His children. When he afflicts us it is to our benefit.
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)
With this in mind we can summarize the reasons the Lord sends troubles into the lives of believers.
The first is disciplinary. This is to correct an errant or erring Christian. A believer who is drifting away from the Lord may be brought back through some tragedy. This is probably why we find more people receptive to this message at funerals. The loss of someone close can make even the most lukewarm of us more receptive and appreciative of God's Word.