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2/8/18

Innocent Suffering

In all this Job did not sin with his lips.
Job 2.10

In my personal Bible reading, I began the book of Job this week. The book of Job is amazing for a variety of reasons. But one stood out to me again as I began to read. Job introduces us to a unique kind of suffering. Innocent suffering. Job is a righteous man, and yet all this suffering comes into his life, not because of anything he did. And the author is compelled to tell us, that as Job responded to his suffering, he did not sin in response. The fact that Job's suffering is innocent is a strong theme of the book. Job's friends don't have a category for innocent suffering. As they see it, there is only one reason for why Job is suffering like he is; he must have sinned in some way. Their view is a type of predecessor to Karma. You get what you deserve.

Because Job is in the Bible, it is important to remember, that as we suffer and as others suffer, the suffering might not be because of our sin. 

We must keep a category of innocent suffering in mind as we counsel one another. We also need to keep in mind the reality of innocent suffering to help us have hope in our suffering. We need this, not only because we might suffer innocently, but also, because it is through innocent suffering that all of our suffering will eventually be healed.

The book of Job is not just about Job and his friends. Job is an innocent sufferer who is a foreshadow of the great innocent sufferer. Job is also about the one who is greater than Job, The Innocent Sufferer, Jesus himself. Jesus is the truly innocent sufferer, who suffers not because of his sin, but for our sin and suffering. Jesus willingly became a suffering servant, who suffered, though he never sinned. He suffered innocently for our sin, so that one day all suffering will cease, and all tears will be wiped away.

There are some things we will suffer, and just like Job, in this life, we may never get a reason for why we suffered. 

But just like Job, we can trust God, who brings us through suffering. And we have even more reason than Job to trust God, because we know that in Christ, God took on human flesh and suffered innocently for us. In suffering, we can trust a God who suffers for us to heal us one day from the pain.

Tim Porter

Lead Pastor for the Mission
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