The world is full of injustices. Not the sudo-injustices or faked outrage that you see daily on social media in the United States where people claim to be offended by the most minute and ridiculous things, like banning the use of red ink to grade papers in schools because it’s considered a ‘very negative color’. What I’m talking about are the very real injustices that happen every day outside the relatively safe protections of western law. Homes are destroyed, families torn apart and people, including children, harassed, tortured, thrown in jail or worse without any trial, defense or recourse. This is real injustice of the sort that ought to challenge our perspective and motivate us to put aside our petty differences and take action on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves.
But when we broaden our view to take in the enormity of the problems that exist today and then consider how little the average person can do from far away to salve the cries of the suffering, one could easily be tempted to question God (as some do all the time).
But before turning your back on the Lord in response to what you perceive as a lack of action to address the situation that most concerns you, open your heart and hear a lesson from Job. He too wrestled with some of the same questions that surface in the minds of suffering believers today. The sorrow and grief stemming from the cataclysmic destruction of his family, livelihood and health understandably caused him so much anguish that Job “cursed the day” he was born, (Job 3:1) and compared his longing for death to the eagerness of one who “searches for hidden treasure.” (vs 21) His lament is perhaps one of the most profound expressions of despair in all of literature.
Yet even with strong words despising his own birth, and longing for the ultimate and final end to his suffering, it’s important to remember that his response to this misery didn’t include blame and rejection of God. (1:20-21) Though most of us might be hesitant to be as vocal and direct with our objections to distress as Job was, the truth is that his struggle is the same struggle we feel. I mean, what person in the quietness of his or her own soul has not questioned the purpose of extreme tragedy or cried out for relief from enduring, relentless pain?
However, one great difference between Job’s situation and ours today is the accessibility of the comfort and assurances of the written scriptures that can strengthen faith in even the most desperate times. They provide solid confidence that no event nor pain (regardless of the source or duration) can prevail again the power of God, (Ps 93) nor force us away from the security of His love. (Rom 8:38-39) Paul reminds us that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Rom. 8:18) A steady focus on the eternal results of hardship rather than on the present pain can help us to surrender our cries of anguish to the grace and mercy of Christ and trust that an eternity of reward “outweighs them all.” (2 Cor. 4:17)