Monday, April 1, 2013

erosive effects of suffering

But the mountain falls and crumbles away, and the rock is removed from its place; the waters wear away the stones; the torrents wash away the soil of the earth; so you destroy the hope of man.
Job 14:18-19

Job spends some time talking about the long term effects of the sufferings of life on a person. Part of God's purpose in suffering is to erode away the false hope of humanity. It isn't that God wants to destroy all hope. It is that the props we humans devise must be taken out from under us so that we might find true hope and life perspective in God.

Suffering is erosive. The longer it goes on, the tougher it is to manage. Every human resource eventually diminishes in effectiveness or disappoints us altogether. That is why we need an eternal perspective. And no strictly human philosophy can achieve that kind of hope. The effects of suffering wear us down over time, like water cutting a channel through rock over slow decades of time. But the effect is permanent. The rock will forever by changed through the erosion. The soil that is washed away cannot be brought back.

After the erosion of all our human efforts at hope, there is still the reality of God's sovereign care over us. Suffering and difficulty do not erode away God. Notice that Job talks about the loss of "the hope of man", while attributing the control over suffering to God. It is God Who uses difficulties to get us to the end of ourselves so that we can focus on His control over all things.

You can bring perspective on both the massive catastrophe and the slow erosive trickle of pain and suffering that we experience. You are the God Who wears down mountains with Your rain. You control all things so that we might see and worship You. And in You we find grace, mercy, understanding, contentment, and joy. As You wear away my rocks of selfish trust, help me to trust You as I should.

1 comment:

Tim said...

Like the errosion control ad below ;-)