SUFFERING
The book of Job brings up many points involving the problem of suffering. Many of the questions brought up in Job
are not answered completely. When God talks with Job, many of his answers are not definite. Although one of his
definite answers is that suffering is a mystery. I agree that suffering is somewhat of a mystery but I do think that
God inflicts this suffering in order to make us better people.
Father Henry Fehren's article, Does God give you more suffering than you can bear?, does a good job in relating
Jesus to the problem of suffering. Much emphasis can be put upon Jesus in talking about suffering. Since we all
suffer, would we have fully accepted Jesus as one of us if he had not suffered (Fehren, 1996) is a question one needs
to ponder when talking about the suffering of Jesus. Jesus used his suffering for the good of man. This is the one
experience of suffering that I do not think is a mystery. Jesus was able to give us someone to believe in by suffering
on the cross.
If suffering were pointless, Jesus would not have accepted it (Fehren, 1996). There must have had a good reason
otherwise Jesus would not have suffered the way that he did. Fehren (1996) also states that only great faith can make
us able to accept severe suffering. I definitely agree with that statement by Fehren because a person who endures
great suffering must have faith in God. They must also have faith in themselves. So it seems to me that Jesus'
suffering gave us faith.
Paul Nelson, in The Problem of Suffering: Griefs Observed, comes to the conclusion that suffering is pointless
(Nelson, 1991). Though, I agree with Fehren's idea that if suffering was pointless then Jesus would not have endured
it. Jesus' suffering gave us faith in God, Jesus, and ourselves.
Job's suffering seemed pointless to him at the time of his suffering. Then, while talking to God, he comes to the
conclusion that suffering is a mystery. Job also realizes that he does not know really anything about God, so he
should not try to question his antics.
After God's great speech, Job is a changed man, but it is not the content of the speech that heals him (Hess, 1997).
Margaret Hess thinks that it is not the speech that changes Job it is Job's knowing that God has come to him
personally. My personal view is that I strongly disagree with this. Job was a changed man because he endured his
suffering and now it was over. After Job got through his time of suffering, he was rewarded by God. Not everyone is
rewarded after his or her period of suffering. Even though sometimes just the suffering being over is reward enough.
Hardship is part of the human condition, and no one can claim an exemption (Yancey, 1988). Yancey (1988) goes
on to state, but for those who love God, the condition is temporary. I see these statements very helpful in backing
my argument. People who do not love God will most likely endure suffering throughout their life. It may not seem
that way from the outside but deep inside they are probably experiencing a lot of suffering. People who love God
also experience suffering. I believe that this suffering is temporary because they have love for God. These people
that love God also experience this suffering because it makes them stronger people. They endure their temporary
suffering and their will is stronger along with their ability to deal with suffering. Next time that suffering occurs they
will have already dealt with it so it will be easier this time around.
This brings up a personal experience that happened to me when I was twelve years old. In one of my soccer games I
got tangled up with an opponent and ended up breaking my leg. A lot of surgery was needed to repair my leg. My
personal suffering obviously involved my leg always being in pain. Most of my suffering, though, occurred in my
agony in whether I would be able to play soccer again. Soccer was one of the most important things in my life at the
time and I