Here’s some good advice and inspiration about life’s up, downs and all around's. ‘Life Is’ was written by an unknown author.
‘Life is a challenge - meet it. Life is a gift - accept it. Life is an adventure - dare it. Life is a sorrow - overcome it. Life is a tragedy - face it. Life is a duty - perform it. Life is a game - play it. Life is a mystery - unfold it. Life is a song - sing it. Life is an opportunity - take it. Life is a journey - complete it. Life is a promise - fulfill it. Life is a beauty - praise it. Life is a struggle - fight it. Life is a goal - achieve it. Life is a puzzle - solve it. Life is eternal - believe it.’
One of the first things each of us did when we were born was make a mess. Poop happens…often quickly and successively. There will be times in our lives when we journey through suffering of one type or another.
The Bible reveals three kinds of suffering. The first kind of suffering is suffering for what is wrong. For example, someone robs a bank and gets caught. They are now in jail. They complain they are suffering. They are suffering from their choices. Here’s some wisdom from Lolly Daskal: 'When you stop chasing the wrong things, you give the right things a chance to catch you.'
The second kind of suffering is suffering for what is right. Many have suffered and are suffering now for the sake of Christ or their faith. The early church suffered, even martyred, for what is right against a humanistic Roman government. Christ Himself suffered and was crucified for what is right.
The third type of suffering is just plain old suffering. A good friend dies in a car accident. The spouse and family are grieving. They are suffering and we suffer with them. A storm or tornado hits a home or someone gets an incurable disease. Sometimes we do everything right but it just didn’t turn out right. Something happened beyond our control and we got caught in it.
Many of you will have heard the story of Job in the Bible. It is an amazing story of Job, someone who loved God and obeyed God. But even Job got more than his share of trials and suffering. He had counseled and encouraged many people in the past in their times of suffering. But now Job was the one in trouble and was going to need someone else’s encouragement.
Eliphaz, one of Job’s friends, wanted to encourage him. Eliphaz claimed to have been given secret knowledge through a special revelation from God about the cause of Job’s suffering. (Job 4:12-16). Eliphaz notes his revelation and personal experience qualified him to speak to Job. (Job 4:8). He concluded that Job’s suffering was a direct result of sin. If Job would only confess his sin, his suffering would end. Eliphaz saw suffering as God’s punishment for sin which should be welcomed to bring a person back to God. In some cases, this is true like in suffering for what is wrong, but it was not true with Job.
Although some of the things Eliphaz said to Job were true, he made three wrong assumptions about Job and ‘just plain old suffering.’ The first assumption was good and innocent people never suffer. The second assumption was those who suffer are being punished for their past sins. The third assumption was that Job, because he was suffering, had done something wrong in God’s eyes. Abraham Maslow describes friends like Eliphaz. He says, “It is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail.”
In Job’s case, there was no cause and effect. It was just life. Jesus says it is inevitable that stumbling blocks will come in this life. In this life, we will have tribulation. But God is right there with us. One proverb says, “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was ending, he turned into a butterfly.” What happened to Job after his season of suffering was over? God doubled Job’s fortune and blessings.
Are you the one in trouble right now? The Bible advises, “Take the old prophets as your mentors. They put up with anything, went through everything, and never once quit, all the time honoring God. What a gift life is to those who stay the course! You’ve heard, of course, of Job’s staying power, and you know how God brought it all together for him at the end. That’s because God cares, cares right down to the last detail.” James 4:10-11. Selah.