How Does Faith Endure?
How Does Faith Endure?
We want to start this blog with the question: How does faith endure? There are many aspects to faith and each individual has different aspects. As we have stated in our blog many times faith is a command and is necessary. Our faith in God must be based upon the things that we can observe in our universe. We make a decision to have faith in God based upon these things.
As we struggle with adversity in our life our faith may waiver as a result. The dictionary defines suffering as the state of anguish or pain of one who suffers; the bearing of pain, injury or loss. As we all know suffering plagues the world that we live in. In many forms it affects us physically, psychologically, and emotionally. Suffering falls on the just and the unjust alike. It affects innocent victims. This uncomfortable fact makes it difficult for us to reconcile such obvious unfairness with the existence or fairness of an intelligent Divine being. Some are so disturbed by this state of affairs that they try to remedy the situation. They devote much of their energy to performing charitable works and at relieving undeserved suffering. They long to make the world a more just and equitable place to live. Our efforts to stop suffering at best only delay the inevitable.
Have you ever felt like Job? Job goes through all of his trials loss of all of his property, family and help. After all that Job went through, he replied to God; Job 42:1–6 Then Job answered the LORD and said: 2 “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 4 ‘Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you make it known to me.’ 5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; 6 therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
After all that had happened to Job he still could say: I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; these trials and adversity had increased Job’s faith. At the time of adversity it is not pleasant. The question we must ask ourselves is: When trials come as they will, will our faith increase?
Eliphaz is the first of Job’s friends to speak in Job chapter 4 and 5. Job replied to Eliphaz in chapter 6 and 7. A portion of Job’s reply: Job 7:17–21 What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him, 18 visit him every morning and test him every moment? 19 How long will you not look away from me, nor leave me alone till I swallow my spit? 20 If I sin, what do I do to you, you watcher of mankind? Why have you made me your mark? Why have I become a burden to you? 21 Why do you not pardon my transgression and take away my iniquity? For now I shall lie in the earth; you will seek me, but I shall not be.”
David wrote in Psalms 8:4, we can compare this to Job’s response: “what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”
Job and David are saying to God, if you would forget about me things would be better. If you are angry with me because of sin, why haven’t you forgiven me? Look at the man up the street that is committing adultery. He is not having the difficulty in his life that I am having. The suffering that is most painful is the present one. There are two different kinds of suffering: the emotional pain, and the spiritual pain. Job’s trial was a struggle of faith. Job is the story of a believer who struggles with his doubts and despair.
Job is a great example of faith. His persistent refusal to curse God is his example of faith. His trial is the trial of all believers. If God acts, if he permits, if he causes, God must have a reason. God does not act arbitrarily. Consequently, like Job we ask, “Why”?
What are some of the similarities of Job’s story that you have experienced?