Two hands folded in prayer intercession are shown inside a volcanic mountain, changing the mountain, preparing it to move, to explode from the inside out. Prayer is changing the mountain, causing it to quake and expand. This mountain will move. Just as a volcanic mountain erupts and creates new land, even islands in the sea, so prayer in faith in Jesus’ name will bring answers that result in healing and renewal.
Jesus encourages us to pray in faith believing for the answer we hope to see.
“I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.” Mark 11:23
Instead of praying in faith for yourself or another person, have you ever tried to figure out WHY all the suffering? Is sin at the root?
Job is a book in the Old Testament in the Bible. The book of Job explores the reasons why people suffer from calamity and sickness. Can God be glorified through suffering or is suffering a direct result of sin? Can we fully understand God?
God called Job righteous yet, he suffered tremendously. He lost all of his children and all of his wealth. Finally he lost his health. His wife told him he might as well, “curse God and die.” (see Job 2:9). It was that bad. But Job refused to blame God and did not give up. Then, he had visitors.
Job’s friends came to visit him. Instead of comforting him, his three friends reasoned with him. They tried to convince him that God’s justice demanded that he was suffering because of his sins. But Job claimed he was innocent and defended himself. In Job, chapter 31. He discussed his good works. It is quite a list:
- not lusting after a woman
- not deceitful
- not denying justice
- not denying needs of the poor
- not trusting in money
- not worshipping false gods
- not cursing his enemies
- and he was hospitable
Job finally asks for an answer from God and concludes his defense.
A fourth friend enters the discussion.
His fourth friend Elihu, who is younger than the others, defends Almighty God by saying, “Can he who hates justice govern? Will you condemn the just and mighty One?” Job 34:17. He also says, “Job opens his mouth with empty talk; without knowledge he multiplies words.” Job 40:8
Job’s first three friends did not comfort him. Instead they questioned Job’s morality. Job defended himself by challenging God’s wisdom and justice. His fourth friend tells him that his defense is condemning God!
God Shows Up
God enters the discussion out of a storm. God explains to Job that his understanding is limited and God’s wisdom is limitless. God gives Job multiple examples of His mighty work. I especially like this statement spoken by God,
“Was it you Job, who made horses so strong and gave them their flowing manes?” Job 39:19
Job realizes that God’s wisdom and justice is awesome and beyond his comprehension. God asks Job to pray for his three friends (but not the fourth friend) that accused him of sin. After praying for them, Job’s life turns around. God blesses Job in the last part of his life more than the first part of his life.
Remember Job when praying for others
A suffering person may cry out, “Why me, Lord? What did I do to deserve all this trouble?”
Just as Job did not understand why he was suffering, you may not understand why you or others are suffering. Don’t rush in to justify God and crush yourself or your friends as a result. Accusations only frustrate and hurt people. Righteous people may suffer as much as unrighteous people.
Some suffering glorifies God, like Christ’s suffering on the cross. Because Jesus suffered and died, our sins are washed away by the power of His shed blood. Sometimes God calls us to share in Christ’s suffering, so it is important that we trust our Creator in everything.
We do not understand all of God’s purposes.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
Pray for your friends and for yourself with love in your heart.
Don’t judge, just pray in faith expecting God to move mountains.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1Peter 4:8.
Let’s reach out to hurting people with God’s love and help them trust in our loving and forgiving God. Encourage the suffering not to judge God, but to turn to God for help and strength.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973,1978,1984 by International Bible Society, Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.