I recently attended a very happy family wedding in Virginia. If we had our way, I thought, we’d attend all weddings and no funerals; we’d celebrate all births but face no deaths–especially our own; we’d model fitness, but not grow old. When God presents his perspective on Job’s suffering, however, in Chapters 38-41, he describes disaster, destruction and death as part of his living creation. The lion must ambush its victim to eat and to feed its young (38:39-40); the eagle’s (vulture) young gulp blood (39:27-30). “Where the slain are, there he is” (39:30).
In contrast, we strive to control our environment in order to avoid suffering, to escape pain, and to eliminate grief. That’s our natural tendency; to seek out pain would be masochistic, sick.
One major lesson Job’s suffering teaches us, therefore, is that we cannot control certain aspects of life. We don’t get to pick the cherries out of life and skip the rest. Unable to control major parts of life, we learn to live within the limits God gives us. We have limited time, limited health, and limited abilities; God can, nevertheless, bless our talents, use our gifts, and fill our days.
If God has given you suffering, how have you learned to live within the limits of your illness, pain, or disability? How has he blessed you?