Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Resolving the Problems of Suffering - Elihu Job 32-37

In A Better Reason for Suffering - Learning from Elihu..., Elihu presented a different view on suffering and point towards the hope of having a mediator, an intercessor between God and man. Here is mind-map that summarized the debates between Job and his three friends, Elihu's defence of God and the other purposes of suffering.

Job and his three friends shared the same theology of God. They thought only of God as the just judge, punishing sins and rewarding obedience. Job obeyed God out of fear of punishment and not of love. A performance based type of relationship with God. This runs the danger of self-righteousness. He only has a hear-say concept of God and not a real encounter with God. So Job did a lot of sacrifices for sins, even for his children wide partying. With such a concept of God of justice, he could not see his error and accused God for not being fair to him. His three other friends could only infer Job's suffering must have been due to his sin but they could not point out exactly what it was. They could only asked Job to check it himself and to repent. That really upset Job who considered he had no sin at all.

Elihu presented a different version of God. A God of not just just, but of utmost wisdom and love. God is so wise that he could not be fooled into being unjust. God is so loving that He will speak to man to that they may correct their mistakes and be rescued to live well. There is a purpose in suffering. While a key purpose of suffering or pains is to get attention that we may make changes, the Bible also show us other purposes for suffering. They are captured in the green portion of the mind-map above.

The question about the meaning and of life is not whether we suffer or not but rather are we living out the purpose that God has created us for. Are we even willing to suffer, if it is to be our purpose? (e.g. consider the martyr for God). Are we willing to be God's little dot, or a little piece of puzzle, that connect other dots and make up the total beautiful picture of God's creation? Even so, God did not designed us for suffering and our suffering is but for a while that we may step up to a higher place.

May we have the right attitude towards suffering and be sure of our calling.

Lim Liat (c) 15 July 2015

No comments: