Job 19:23-27


          There must be suffering before glory.  This is a truth that is difficult to swallow.  Jesus plainly taught his disciples that he must suffer and die before being raised from the dead and glorified.  We follow the same pattern:  suffering before glory.  There cannot be resurrection, new life, and glorious change without first dying to self, becoming a humble servant, and being last not first.
Job is one of the more familiar characters of the Bible.  He suffered like no person before him or since him.  Yet, his glory is like none other, as well.  In the middle of his agony, in the darkness of not understanding what was happening to him, and at the lowest point of his life there was the faintest but clearest glimmer of hope.  Job knew that his Redeemer lives.  Job had the confident expectation that his suffering meant something.  Job held out not a wishful thinking, but a settled hope that he would someday see God and that he would be redeemed from his torment.
As Christians, we may not understand everything about the Scriptures or theology.  Yet, we intuitively know in the shadowy recesses of our present sufferings that it will not always be this way.  We know that our Redeemer lives.  We know that there will be judgment.  We know whether our souls have genuine hope or whether they put up the pretense when asked, “How are you doing?”  “Fine” is the reply while we are dying inside. 
 
If the ancient response to suffering that Job expressed teaches us anything it is:  that we must be real about the raw emotional pain that is within us; and, that we must affirm the hope of redeeming deliverance and new life in order to remain patient and godly.
Suffering Savior, the One who took my place, thank you for dying on my behalf.  Help me through my present sufferings to see the hope of Easter.  Be gracious to me so that I might be gracious to others, even when I think so much of my own troubles.  Amen.

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