God is sovereign and he is good. These are the twin theological pillars of childlike faith. Bigger and smarter than we are, all that God does is aimed at our benefit in Christ. But as simple as it seems, this truth isn't always easy to embrace.
A few years ago John Piper led a regional conference on this topic. He taught through the Book of Job and began by noting why Job's story, in particular, is so important:
- Hundreds of you have suffered or are suffering and are looking for light in your darkness.
- Suffering is coming, for sure. Basic discipleship means tribulations.
- Persecution, disease, war, disability, disaster, freak accident, assault — all are alike in this: Satan aims to destroy your faith, but God aims to strengthen it.
- Natural disasters put [the subject of God's relationship to evil] in the news. Consider the tsunamis, hurricanes, flooding, tornadoes, and avalanches.
- God is rejected by many because of the suffering in the world.
- There are Christians who openly question the sovereignty of God over all suffering.
- God's wise, good, just, absolute sovereignty is pastorally precious beyond measure. Being able to say, "Satan meant it for evil, but God..." gives hope and strength. Nothing is wasted. Nothing surprises God.
- Suffering is appointed as one way the gospel is spread.
- The supreme value and glory and admirableness of Christ is shown most clearly when Christians treasure Christ more than they treasure what they're losing — health, wealth, family, or life.
- Job is the main book in the Bible dealing with suffering. It can help us in all these ways.
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