Suffering and Sweet Surrender February 12-16
One of the hardest parts of suffering as Christians is, that in the midst of it, we must come face-to-face with a sovereign God. He is utterly in control. Scripture describes our God as one who is intimately aware of our lives, and sometimes that can be most difficult when we are suffering. Suffering and sovereignty go together. Neither erases the other. God’s sovereignty does not mean Christians will never again face another problem, nor does suffering mean that our God is not totally in control. But, as Job came to know, God will use every situation for our gain, others’ good, and His glory. Job experiences almost every kind of suffering, and his response is one that is above reproach. It is one of humble surrender.
Day 1 Job 1:1–12
Reflect: In these verses, what do you learn about God, Satan and Job? Do you think Job was sinless? How does the Accuser see humanity and our relationship with God?
Apply: How does Job’s innocence exacerbate the problem of suffering? When have you wrestled with this question—“Since God is all-powerful, why doesn’t He prevent our suffering?”
Pray: Heavenly Father, thank You for this peep into the spiritual realm that gives us a deeper knowledge and understanding of who You are. During my time on earth, may I live in a way that honors You, no matter what suffering I may go through.
Day 2 Job 1:13-22
Reflect: What do you learn about Job’s view of God? What is significant about Job’s initial response to the tragedies? In what is his response rooted?
Apply: Why does suffering often make us question God’s sovereignty? In your life, when has it been hardest for you to trust God? When has it been most difficult for you to worship Him?
Pray: Father, when I face tough times and losses that threaten to crush me, remind me of the two most important things I have–Your grace and Your sovereignty. My earthly gifts do not define me, Jesus Christ does!
Day 3 Job 2:1-10
Reflect: Why do you think Satan was trying to discredit Job and expose him as a fraud? Why is the word surrendered a good description of Job? Can you recognize yourself in Job’s wife?
Apply: When have you seen pain and suffering cause people to deny God’s goodness? How would you use the truth of God’s sovereignty to console someone who is suffering?
Pray: Father, when faced with adversity, help me not be swayed by what I see or feel, or to speak foolishly about what I don’t understand. Teach me to make the right choices, trusting that Your grace is sufficient for all circumstances.
Day 4 1 Peter 5:8-11
Reflect: What do you learn about God, believers, and the enemy? What are our “weapons” against the devil and how do we handle them? What are the two promises of God?
Apply: How does this passage relate to what you have read, so far, about Job? Why is staying alert so necessary for living the Christian life? How has God restored you? (Verse 10)
Pray: Ask Jesus what it looks like for you to resist the devil and stand firm in faith? Share with someone what He shows you.
Day 5 Romans 5:3-5
Reflect: How would you summarize what Paul says about suffering? How do trials help strengthen our hope in Christ? How does knowing God loves you impact you in suffering?
Apply: Do you struggle with the idea that hard times are actually part of God’s plan? When has God used suffering to strengthen your faith to make you more like Him?
Pray: God, give me a teachable spirit and a willingness to rejoice in the Lord, no matter what difficulties I have to face. May my life be a testimony of Your goodness and grace.
Put It Into Practice!
Week 1 Suffering and Sweet Surrender
During our journey, we encourage you to give up something for Lent. What could you “go without” or fast from on this Lent journey? It is up to each of us to listen to God as He shows us something that we have a tendency to use or consume in excess; something that consumes our thinking and desires. Ask God to show you something in your life that you could give up for the six weeks of Lent in order to better focus upon Him. Consider attending the Ash Wednesday service.