Meeting God Face-to-Face

“But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction” (Job 36:15, NIV).

“Dr. Edward Judson, in speaking of the life of his father, Adoniram Judson, at the dedication of the Judson Memorial Church in New York City, said, ‘Suffering and success go together. If you are succeeding without suffering, it is because others before you have suffered; if you are suffering without succeeding, it is that others after you might succeed.’ Happy are they that mourn. They can be happy because they know that their pain, their distress and their privation are the travail of a new creation, the birth pangs of a better world. They can be happy if they are aware that the Master Artist, God, is employing both light and shadow to produce a masterpiece worthy of divine artistry. They can also glory in their infirmities, smile through their tears and sing in the midst of their sorrow, because they realize that in God’s economy, ‘If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.”

“I am a professor of pediatrics at Yale University School of Medicine. Many times I have asked parents of my patients, ‘If you could rewrite your life’s script, would you omit any trace of this experience?’ Although they would all omit the physical suffering of their children, few would want to return to their former philosophies of life. Before suffering came into their lives through the illness of their children, their worldview had been distorted, their opinion of God more hearsay than heart-held. It was in their suffering that they met God face-to-face. Had it been their choice, the meeting might never have occurred. For the parents with whom I work, hope springs from their mended places, and prayers ascend from where they once were broken. In these situations, the story of Job is an opening in the heavens, a window for those of us who struggle with suffering. We learn that his suffering had nothing to do with his own righteousness before God. Neither was his suffering an excuse for him to forsake God’s ways. God answered Job out of the whirlwind. The Lover of Job’s soul spoke words through Job’s suffering that Job could not previously understand things too wonderful, that he did not know. God was precisely where Job least expected to find Him, and where we will find Him too” (Diane M. Komp).