She lost her parents in a car accident.
Her husband left her for someone else.
She held her grandfather’s hand as his breath slipped away.
The diagnosis was definite: stage four brain cancer. She would outlive her five-year-old son.
The phone rang with the worst news in the world.
Depression ravaged her heart. How could she go on living like this?
Suffering. It is a common theme in the lives and hearts of all of us. It ransacks our joy and makes us wonder how we can move forward.
This week seemed to be a week of suffering for so many around me. My husband’s grandfather died, a cornerstone man of my hometown was lost, and I even received a guest post about tragedies.
But then again, is it not a theme always?
You see, suffering comes in many forms beyond death. It comes in the marriage that is struggling to breathe. It comes in the high school break up that seems to crumble her world. It comes in the form of anxiety attacks. It comes and goes and it seems like a thief that robs us of our peace.
I want to rewind a little bit and revisit a Bible character we all know well: Job.
If you don’t know anything about Job, he was a faithful servant of God. He had abundant riches, a huge family, livestock and crops and everything that a man living in his time might want.
One day, Satan went to God, confident in his own ability to rob Job of his faithfulness. He asked God to allow him to take all of Job’s possessions to test if he was really a servant in any circumstance.
God knew Job’s heart. God allowed Satan to annihilate Job’s universe.
God allowed Job to suffer. His children all died. He suffered in his health. He lost all His possessions.
His own friends and wife told him that God wasn’t going to be faithful to him any longer.
So Job cried out to God. Job asked God why this was happening. He told Him he didn’t understand. He reminded God of how faithful he had been.
God responded by reminding who He was. That He was the one who placed the stars in the sky and who sees everything for what it is. He reminded Job that His word and authority is the only that could last.
God healed Job from his sickness. God allowed Job to have more children. God restored Job’s possessions ten-fold.
But that doesn’t change the fact that Job did lose. He lost loved ones; he went through a period of doubt and frustration; he wondered if his God had forsaken Him.
So the real question is, was Job ever fully healed?
My answer? Yes. But not on this earth.
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For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God… For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies… No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
(Romans 8:18-19, 22, 23, 37-39 ESV)
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When I first heard this story, my mind probably went where yours did. “But God, His children could never be replaced. How could you take them from him?” Even though He did get to raise more children, he still lost his first.
God replaced Job’s losses, yes. But that doesn’t change the fact that he went through unimaginable and unbearable pain.
This is where I love Paul’s reminder in the above passage:
You see, we cannot think of suffering as something that can be overcome or “gotten over.” It is a very real part of the human experience. It is what comes from our sin. It is part of this broken world. It is inevitable and unavoidable.
But Christian, as much as you are suffering in this moment or have suffered in the past or will suffer in the future, as much as you hurt here on earth, you will rejoice incomparably more in the restoration of heaven.
Our hearts will never be satisfied here…
Heaven, God’s restoration, in the end, the new earth, that is what we should fix our eyes upon.
Paul continues by reminding us that as long as we are here, all of creation will be groaning in longing for God to restore His land.
The ground cracks. The trees die. Animals drown in oil. The earth ages. Fires roar through forrests and the grounds freeze over.
Humanity longs to be seen as equal. News stations cannot report murders fast enough. Twitter buzzes with stories of mass shootings and terrorism and war.
Every time our hearts seem to heal of one suffering, another comes knocking on the door. Once we are over the let-down of the last relationship, another walks away. Once we have complete peace with a family member passing away, another diagnosis calls our names. We are broken here, sisters. We, like Job, may have our losses restored, but our hearts can never be. Not here. Not how we are.
But they can be satisfied in Jesus.
Jesus. He is the answer. He is the one that brings restoration. He is the one who beckons satisfaction. He is the one who will come in complete triumph on the day that the brokenness of this world will be destroyed.
In Him, we can have complete healing.
But this healing won’t come while we are here. We will still hurt. We will still sob. We will mourn the loss of our parents and the unfaithfulness of our loved ones and the diagnosis of our children and the depression and anxiety that overtakes our lives.
We will grieve, but it will be with hope.
We will grieve with hope because we know beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is an ending that is triumphant! It is joyous. It is new and whole.
I want to encourage you to read Romans 8 every day this week. Read it aloud. Write it down. Sing it. Meditate on it. But read it daily.
This is a chapter that will rock your world. It will show you hope. It will challenge you to your core because of Who and what it speaks of. It reminds us that we are not held captive by death or destruction or sorrow! It tells us that we do not stand condemned because of our sin! It frees us of the hopelessness that Satan tries to tell us is final.
So yes, you can have complete healing; yes, you can have total restoration. Job had total restoration.
But it did not come on this side of heaven. Our restoration day will be Job’s. We, children of the Most High will stand before Him on that day and sing praises because He has restored our brokenness. We will not be haunted by our own sin any longer. We will no longer question Him. We will see what He intended from the beginning.
He will look unto us and say once more, “it is good.”
We are healed.
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In what do you need healing? How does it give you peace to know that God’s children will have complete healing at eternity’s shore? Share it in the comments below.
To continue going through Romans with us, read the following verses this week.
Romans Series Reading Plan:
Monday: Romans 7-8
Tuesday: Romans 8
Wednesday: Romans 8
Thursday: Romans 8
Friday: Romans 8
Saturday: Romans 8
This week is a little different than normal, because this is such an important book of the Bible. I am convinced that you could read it every day of your life, and only scratch the surface of the Gospel. Take time each day and write down what God has shown you in this reading of Romans 8.
You can either catch up with us or go at your own pace. This explanation of how to study the Bible might also be helpful. Thank you for joining. Please let me know how God has worked in your heart in the comments below.
In Christ alone,