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Faith in Times of Suffering

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Job was well-acquainted with suffering. First he lost his children, his servants, and his livestock (Job 1:13-19). Then he lost his health (Job 2:7). Even his wife urged him to “curse God and die” (Job 2:9). But Job did not. 

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Oh, he had plenty to say to God. If he could come before the throne of God, Job told his friends, “I would state my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments” (Job 23:4). 

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Like many of us when we are hurting, Job asked God why (Job 7:20). And like Job, we sometimes feel as if no one is listening: “If I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him” (Job 23:8-9). People may say, “God is working behind the scenes; you just can’t see it,” yet your circumstances remain unchanged. 

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We may not understand, this side of heaven, why God allows certain things to happen in our lives, but the apostle Paul helps explain the part that suffering plays in our sanctification: “…knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom. 5:3-5, NASB). Hope does not disappoint.

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In ancient times, a goldsmith would heat gold in a crucible over a fire until the impurities rose to the surface. The craftsman could then remove the impurities to refine the gold. The apostle Peter reminds us that our trials “have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:7). We are being refined for His glory and honor.

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Ultimately, Job didn’t lose faith. “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him,” he declared (Job 13:15). Job knew God had a purpose, even in his suffering: “When he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. … For he will complete what he appoints for me” (Job 23:10,14, ESV).

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You may be in the crucible of suffering right now, but be encouraged. You, like Job, will “come out as gold.” “He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Eccl. 3:11).

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Just Between Us (JBU) wants to help you keep your faith even in the midst of suffering. We’ve gathered some articles here by women who’ve faced their own share of trials. We know it’s not easy, but remember you are not alone: “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

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