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Seeing Through Suffering & Pain: The Test

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Delivered By
Northridge Baptist Church
Delivered On
October 30, 2022

Common circumstances of suffering and pain include loss of things we value, death of people we love, all kinds of bad news, and being disappointed by people we trust. These all test our faith. Job modeled for us how to respond to tests in a way that shows our faith to be genuine, valuable, and glorifying to God.

A couple of weeks ago we started looking together at the story of a man named Job. And we are looking at this with the main thought of seeing through suffering and pain. How do you naturally see the circumstances that cause you suffering and pain and how do you normally view the people who cause you hardship? One way to view these circumstances or these people is to see them as an inconvenience.

So if you are sick or you are injured or some trial comes into your life that just slows down the pace of your life or keeps you from doing what you would normally do, it's an inconvenience. And we can get frustrated and exasperated and sometimes even edgy and reactive and angry when these inconveniences happen in our lives. So we can view trials or hardships as an inconvenience.

They can be frustrating. These trials can be frustrating because if you have certain objectives in mind or goals you are pursuing or things that you find fulfilling and you cannot pursue them anymore, then you can get frustrated by that, especially if another person causes you suffering and pain. You can feel hurt and that hurt that you feel in your heart and even the bitter edge that can develop from that might be what's most prominent in your mind.

You can be offended. You can become resentful. And then with any of these trials, especially ones that last over a long period of time, can be discouraging.

Or at times the grief seems to linger like the dark clouds long after the storm has passed, and you can just feel down. You can be in a state of discouragement which some describe as depression. It's like you're in a dark tunnel, you're in a low place and it seems like you can't see your way out.

Well, the question is what do we see in suffering and pain? And the answer to that question that we are going to be looking at today is that suffering and pain is a test. And it can be helpful for us to see that our hardships, our trials, our injuries, our griefs are times of testing. And that's what job experienced.

I'm going to read for us in Job chapter one today starting with verse 13. Job, chapter one, verse 13. So we're picking up the story after Job has been introduced and after Satan has made his report to God and God has given him some length to his leash, god has allowed him to target Job.

And now starting in Job one, verse 13. Now there was a day when his meaning Job's sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house and a messenger came to Job and said the oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them when the Sabeons raided them and took them away. Indeed they have killed the servants with the edge of the sword and I alone have escaped to tell you while he was still speaking, another also came and said the fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them.

And I alone have escaped to tell you. While he was still speaking, another also came and said the Chaldeans formed three bands, raided the camels and took them away. Yes, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword.

And I alone have escaped, to tell you. While he was still speaking, another also came and said, your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house. And suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house and it fell on the young people, and they are dead.

And I alone have escaped to tell you. We'll stop there for now. And I would like to start by pointing out some common circumstances of suffering and pain.

It is interesting how, as this story is told, that details are included that recount specifically how this unfolded and how it was relayed to Job and then Job's response to that. And in these reports that the messengers are bringing, we see some common circumstances of suffering and pain. And one of them is just the comfortable routine of life back in verses four and five, it describes their family tradition of meeting together in their homes.

And it was a weekly occurrence for them. It was a routine gathering as a family and just enjoying that time together. And in the midst of that comfortable routine of life, tragedy strikes as they gather again like they normally do.

And often the circumstances that cause our suffering and pain interrupt the comfortable routine of life that we enjoy. And what starts as a normal day may be a routine day. And a regular event that we attend or time that we spend can turn into a really bad day.

Another common circumstance of suffering and pain is people doing wrong and harmful things. Here we see the Sabians and the Chaldeans in verse 15 and verse 17 engaging in vicious attacks. And people do things that are hurtful.

Sometimes it's just an individual, sometimes it is a group. It could be another family. People say things and do things that are sinful and hurtful and that cause you suffering and pain just because they're doing wrong.

As in the case of these attackers. They were performing something wrong and harmful to Job's family. Then there are the forces of nature.

And sometimes the forces of nature cause damage and death. And in verse 16, the messenger comes and says the fire of God fell from heaven. This might be a dramatic way of describing lightning.

When lightning strikes back in verse 14, we see a excuse me. In verse 19, we see the great wind. So there was some kind of severe windstorm that came up.

And we know that the forces of nature can cause damage and even death. We've seen this very recently and you have seen probably images and reports of the most recent hurricane that swept across Florida. I used to live in Fort Myers, Florida.

I went to the places that are in those pictures and some of them are just completely leveled now. They're just splinters that are left. They're shredded.

That's what the force of nature can do. Could be a tornado, could be a flood, it could be a patch of ice on the road, something that's produced by nature that all of a sudden results in something very significant, very destructive, and even death, losing something you value. For Job, it was his property, his possessions, including all these oxen and donkeys and sheep and camels.

And those might just seem like farm animals to us, but these were his source of income. These were the basis for his livelihood. So really he lost all the sources of income that he had.

And you might remember that Job was described back in the earlier part of this text, in verse three, as the greatest of all the people of the east. And it did not take very long for him to fall from that position of prominence and recognition and prosperity, right? Because all of this was taken away. So it could be something, it could include an entire livelihood or just something that's important, something that you value, something that's a source of provision for you.

Of course, the most difficult of all of this probably is losing someone you love. All seven sons and three daughters were gone. And I would make an observation that in this case, for Job, these were his children.

And it is a reality that it can be especially painful to lose a child, whether it's an infant or a young child or a teen or an adult child. For a parent to lose a child is one of the most difficult forms of grief. There is a unique pain that comes with that experience.

And grief is one of the greatest hardships. And it's intensified when it is sudden. And for Job, there were many hardships at once.

The way the narrator tells this story, the messengers come as before the previous one is even finished speaking. And all of this is happening, comes to him in waves, but it all happens simultaneously. The Sabeans from the north, the Chaldeans probably from the south.

These are the regions that these groups were probably from. The storms typically rolled in from the west, so from the Mediterranean Sea, producing the fire. And the winds from the desert typically came from the east.

So even in the way that the stories presented, these tragedies, these calamities came at Job literally from all directions. And you might feel that way sometimes. It's like the hardships, the trials, the problems, whether they be seemingly minor or relatively large or even tragic, just come in waves, just come one after another.

And it seems like everywhere you turn there's a problem. It can happen that way. And then just the hardship of very bad news.

A messenger came to Job. So it doesn't just tell us these things happened. Again.

The way this is presented to us is very specific. These messengers arrive and they share this news, highlighting the fact that Job is hearing and processing in an intensifying progression this information. And very bad news hits us hard.

It is a trial in itself. The bad news can come from a doctor, can come from an employer, it can come through a notification, it can come by email, whatever form it may take. Very bad news is hard to take.

Now, look with me at chapter two, because this progresses, there's a cycle here where Job experiences and we'll look at more of what he experienced here in just a minute. But part of the circumstances that produced this difficulty we find in chapter two, verses seven and eight. So look at chapter two, verses seven and eight with me.

It says, so Satan went out from the presence of the Lord. So this is a second time now he reported to God and God gives him permission to take the test even further, to go to an even harsher degree. So chapter two, verse seven.

And Satan struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took for himself a potshard with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes.

I don't have this one on a slide and I cannot remember if it's in your notes or not, but here's another circumstance that produces pain and suffering: severe health issues. There are different ideas of what might have happened to Job here. The point is, it was awful. It was very painful. He had sores on his body from the top of his scalp to the bottoms of his feet. He was covered with these painful sores.

And severe health issues are a source of trial, aren't they? Many people go through health problems ranging from minor health issues to chronic health issues and even terminal health issues. And sometimes people go through agonizing pain. And I can say that many of you know that it's hard if you experience it, but it's also a trial for you to watch someone you love go through suffering and pain as well, isn't it?

I've shared a little bit about my mother. She is almost 100 years old. If the Lord keeps her going for one more month. She will be 100. For the last about three years, three to four years it's progressed. But especially in the last three or four years, she has had severe dementia. And if you know someone with dementia, and if it's somebody you love, if it's a parent or a grandparent or someone you care about, you know how hard it is to watch them go through that.

And the day when I had to drive her by myself. Nobody else was around, no family around on this particular day when I had to drive her to the care center where she was moving into, to a memory care center and take her there and she doesn't understand what's happening, that was one of the hardest days of my life. I wept that whole day.

When I go into her room now and I have to tell her, I'm Dean, I'm your son, that just hurts so bad, right? And it's not just about me. It's because here's this person you love and they're experiencing this hardship. It's hard for you.

It's hard when one of your children goes through suffering and pain. So severe health issues are some of the circumstances that cause us hardship. And then we see here in chapter two, verse nine, look with me there, chapter two, verse nine.

Then his wife said to him, do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die. So I'm going to describe this as someone who is close to you, lets you down. This is his wife.

Now, we have to keep in mind she was grieving as well, wasn't she? So she's a grieving mother and she's reacting. But here we find her encouraging Job to do what Satan predicted he would do. That when the prosperity and the comfort and the nice family and all of that are taken away, that he would deny God.

That's what he accused Job and God of having in place. So she's encouraging Job to succumb to that pressure. And people do disappoint us. People do let us down, people forget about us, people desert us. And that adds to the suffering and pain. So this is just an identification of the kinds of circumstances that can cause our hardship.

And there are more and there may be more that we can identify here. But I want to move on and especially focus on Job's response. I want us to see Job's actions or we might say better his reactions to what happened.

And this is where it gets really unusual. And the way that Job responded to his suffering and pain is a powerful model for us. And we see this first response, which is an uncommon response to this kind and this level of hardship in verses 20 and 21.

So look at these verses with me. Chapter one, chapter one, verses 20 and 21. So Job has heard the news. Verse 20. Then Job arose, tore his robe and shaved his head. Those are signs of intense anguish and grief.

And he fell to the ground and worshipped. And he said, naked I came from my mother's womb and naked shall I return. There the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

So what was his response that is very unusual? Well, first of all, he worshipped God. Now he grieved and he expressed that grief. That's normal. But what is not normal. What is unusual is the response of worshipping God.

And there are two ways he did that, two ways that he worshipped God. First of all, he acknowledged that God had given him everything the Lord has given. I came into this world without anything.

I will leave with nothing, and everything I have from day one to my last day comes from God. So he's worshipping God. He's acknowledging that God gave him everything.

But in addition to that, he's acknowledging that the God who gave him everything has the right to take anything and even everything right. He says, I ride with nothing, I'll leave with nothing. Whatever I have, God gave me, and it is his right to take it away at any time, to any degree, any amount, anything, anyone.

So that's the first way he worships God. He acknowledges that the God who gave him everything has the right to take one thing or many things or everything away. That's one way to worship God.

Acknowledge that everything we have came from God, and along with that, God not only gave it to us, but we can also acknowledge he has the sovereign right, the authority to take it away. That's worshipping God in an unusual way. Not just God, thank you for what you've given me, you've provided for me, but God, you have the right to give as well as take.

The second way he worshipped God is to say that God is good. Blessed be the name of the Lord. That's what that means. To bless God is to say good things about God. If you bless God, you're saying, God, you are good, and I bless you. I am acknowledging your goodness.

But again, there's a qualifier here. So we worship God by saying that he's good, not just that he is good to me and that he has been good to me by giving me these things or these people, but that he is supremely good. He is unconditionally good, regardless of how I'm treated, regardless of what happens to me.

God, you are good. That's what job is doing. This is unusual. This is uncommon. He's worshiping God. Again, he's acknowledging that God gave him everything, but that God also has the right to take anything away.

And he is worshipping God by saying, god, you are good, and you are supremely good. You are unconditionally good. Regardless of what happens to me.

Now, when we are hurting, it is natural for us to want something good, helpful, comforting to happen to us. We want relief. We want comfort.

We want somehow for there to be a good that balances the bad or that at least helps us deal with it or relieves some of the pain or distracts us a little bit. Job's not asking for that, is he? He doesn't have, in this case, an expectation on God. His immediate response is just to worship God, and it's natural for us to look to other people for comfort, to pray to God for relief or to request that the circumstances change or something happen to make up for the hardship.

We want God to give and we want God to show goodness to us. But true worship just says, god, you have the authority. You've given and you can take and you have the authority to do what you want and you are good regardless of whether you give me anything or not.

It is natural to want something from God. It is not natural to give unconditional worship to God in those times of hardship and grief. How do we do that? Well, one way to do it is what we've done this morning and that is to sing, worship to our God.

That's how we worship Him, isn't it? Through our musical expressions and the words that we sing, we are singing to the Lord. We are stating truths about God. And even in the midst of hardship and grief, those lyrics, those poignant and poetic lyrics help us.

They captivate our minds, they arouse our affections. And music is God's gift. It's a way of pouring out your heart beautifully, emotionally and worshipping God.

And that's one way to do it. And there are some songs that identify those hardships that we experience and we worship God through them. My wife's sister's name is Joy so my wife's name is Faith her sister's name is Joy there is no hope, in case you're wondering.

So Faith and Joy, her sister's about a year a couple of years older than she is. And when Joy was 24 years old, she was married. She and her husband were working at a camp in the state of Virginia.

He was the director of the camp and they had two children. One little boy was, I think, about two years old. The other one was eight weeks old.

And her husband Johnny was driving in a truck along with two college guys who were helping in the camp that summer. And the truck rolled and Johnny was killed instantly. So here you have a 24 year old widow, two baby boys and tragedy, right? It's awful.

And the grief and the trial of all that was just extremely hard. It's tragic. They're saved.

They know christ. There is hope, right? So walking through that hardship, there is hope. And as we stood at his graveside, I believe, was one of Faith's brothers with his deep, resonant, bass singing voice started singing.

And the song that we ended up singing together at the graveside is it is well, it is well with my soul, right? And that stayed in my mind as I've never experienced anything like that in that situation. About two years later, maybe three years later faith's father had contracted a terminal illness and at 48 years old, he died. And we stood at his gravesite in Charlote, North Carolina and the family did the same thing.

The family started the song. The family led in singing it as well with My soul. One of those brothers and his wife had a baby who was born with a chromosome deficiency and lived only a few days.

And we went to Baldwin, Maryland, where he was pastoring and stood at the graveside of Little Charity. And again the family sang the same song. It is well with my soul that's worshiping God through grief, that is singing through tears.

And that is the unusual, uncommon way that God's people respond in the hardest of times. Only the grace of God can produce that. Only the spirit of God can enable that that is worshipping God.

We do it by singing. We do it in our prayers. Don't we worship God in our prayers when we say, god, I acknowledge that you have given me everything.

I acknowledge that you have the right, it is your authority to take and I submit myself to that. And I say God in my prayer that you are good. God, I say today, on this day you are good.

And that is not conditioned on what's happening to me. I acknowledge that you are supremely and unconditionally good. We do it as we testify of God's work in our lives.

Oh yes, we speak of the hurt and the grief and the pain and the hardship and the pile of problems or the inconveniences. But we can also say, you know what? God gave me blessings. He doesn't have to.

I don't hold them tightly. He can take them away. And he's good.

It doesn't matter. He is always good. An uncommon response to suffering, to suffering in pain is to worship God in our grief to sing and pray and testify to the goodness of God many times through our tears.

It is common for us to question why. It is common for us at times even to challenge or in our humanness to assign blame to God. But we see another uncommon response here from Job and that is not blaming God.

Look at chapter one, verse 22. In all this, Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong. The idea of charging God with wrong here literally could be translated he did not attribute folly to God.

In other words, folly is something that's purposeless, right? So he was not thinking, God doesn't know what he's doing. He wasn't saying, what in the world, god, what purpose could there be? What could you be thinking to allow all of this to happen to me? So he was not attributing folly to God. He did not find fault in God.

He did not react against God. He did not respond in the way that Satan predicted he would. He didn't just worship and serve God because of the blessings God had given him.

And that's a hard thing to do sometimes, isn't it? And we wrestle with the fact that if God is sovereign and God is good, why would he allow this in my life. There is a difference between asking questions and making accusations. And we find times in the book of Job where the question why is there? And in our humanness we naturally ask Why? But the difference is that the Job did not accuse God here of doing wrong.

We can control the natural response to blame God. Job did. And because Job did in his extreme grief we in our humanness when we tend to not only question but also assign folly or to blame God.

We can control that by the grace of God we don't have to blame God. And Job is an example of that. Another uncommon response is to excuse me.

Another common response is to wish it away. That's kind of what Job's wife was, I think representing there in chapter two, verse nine where she says do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die. And here we see Job's third reaction.

So how did Job respond? He worshipped God. He did not blame God. And the third uncommon response is to accept the test as from God.

And we see this in chapter two, verse ten. Again after the second report, after the second permission is given. And now that Job is experiencing this painful physical anguish himself as a result of these sores his wife says curse God and die.

Look at his response in verse ten. But he said to her you speak as one of the foolish women. And the idea of that phrase is somebody that doesn't understand.

You're talking like somebody who doesn't understand. Shall we indeed accept good from God? And shall we not accept Adversity? In all this, Job did not sin with his lips. So the test had gone to another level.

Now it's not just Job's property, not just his family. Now it's his own person. It is himself experiencing this extreme physical pain and hardship.

His wife became part of the test. It's kind of like when Peter opposed Jesus and said no, that's not going to happen to you about going to the cross. And Jesus said to Peter, get you behind me, Satan.

So Satan used Peter to oppose Jesus. That's kind of like what Job's wife is doing here urging him to not pursue, not fulfill what God was doing in his life. And this could have broken Job when his wife appealed to him in this way.

If anybody could persuade him to give in and give up to the pressure and the test and the temptation Satan was putting in front of him, it was his wife, right? But he doesn't give in. His response is phenomenal. His response is a model for us when he says shall we indeed accept good from God? Now he is talking about the prosperity, the comforts, the family, the blessings, all of that and shall we not accept Adversity? So he turned that question into a statement and he's saying to his wife we should accept Adversity from god.

We should accept it. You know what it means to accept? That's not hard. It means to receive.

To not push away, right? Not to hold off, but to open your hands and to receive it as a gift into your life. So he says we should receive the good, but we should also receive the hardship. The word adversity is just anything bad that happens to you from minor inconveniences to the severest of tragedies.

One writer describes what Job is talking about as cooperating with providence. Cooperating with providence? Providence refers to God, but specifically God's intervention in our lives to accomplish his will. God intervenes God injects himself.

God inserts himself into our lives in specific ways and that affects our circumstances and even, as in this case, our health at times, to accomplish his will. So cooperating with providence is saying, all right, Lord, I accept you as sovereign and I receive what you're doing in my life as a test from you. And when we receive a gift, we can even say what thank you, as hard as that can be.

Now, look with me at Job, chapter 23. There are some profound and beautiful statements in this lengthy book of Job. Let's look at this one.

Job, chapter 23. Let me start reading with verse eight. Job is speaking.

This is in the exchange between Job and his friends and we'll talk about them at a later time. But let's just pick it up here in Job, chapter 23, verse eight. Job 23, verse eight.

Look, I go forward, but he is not there. And backward, but I cannot perceive him. Notice the language speaking of what he can see.

When he works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him. When he turns to the right, I cannot see Him. What's he saying? I'm in a fog.

I can't see my way, and I can't see God or what God is doing. Verse ten. But he knows the way that I take.

When he has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. What beautiful language. What an amazing picture of not being able to see what's happening and where he's going and where is God and all this.

But God sees me, he says, and he knows my way. And the idea of no is not just that God's getting reports from the angels. Oh, here's what's happening to Job today.

No, it's the idea that he's aware he is personally engaged and there's an affection, an element of affection there as well. He cares. The word tested here is just what you would think it is to examine in order to determine essential qualities.

Are you familiar with the idea of an assayer? This is not someone who writes essays like a writer, an essayer, but an assayer with an A and A, sayer, tests metal to determine whether or not it's genuine. That's what an assayer does. Somebody says, hey, I think I found gold.

Well, an assayer checks. It and tests it and says, yes, this is gold. That's the idea of this word.

So it is to examine, to determine the essential quality. Is this real? The same word is used in the prayer in Psalm 139, verse 23. Search me, O God, and know my heart.

Do you know the next word? Try me. Same word and know my thoughts. So sometimes we even ask God to do this.

It's hard when he does, when God even answers that prayer, test me. Well, testing is hard. And Job realizes that's what is happening to him.

Again, as one writer says, God assays, he tests, he assays the hearts of his people that in the end they may come forth as gold. Now, that makes me think of something else, and maybe it has you as well. Go with me to first Peter, chapter one.

With each of these messages, I like to make a connection to the New Testament. And this one's not hard to find. Look with me at First Peter, chapter one.

Now what do you see at the beginning of verse three? Blessed Job, blessed be the name of the Lord. Peter blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy, has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. So he's talking about their salvation to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

So he's saying, here's what God has done. God has saved you, he has given you eternal life. You have a home in heaven, you're kept by his power.

But you do need to have faith. And we have faith in God to save us, right? As well as faith in God to preserve us, strengthen us, sustain us. And that faith is tested.

Verse six. In this in, what your salvation, you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while if need be, you have been grieved, you are suffering, you are hurting because of various trials. The first word in verse seven indicates a purpose.

What is the purpose of these tests? That the genuineness of your faith being much more precious than gold, that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Let's make sure we understand this, what's being tested? Not God. God's going to save people.

God's going to keep people by his power. There is a home in heaven and that is reserved for you, that is sealed, that's guaranteed. God's going to do his part.

That does not have to be tested. But what is tested is our faith, our side. This is a little bit difficult for us to process because on the one hand we know that if we've believed in Christ and he has saved us.

Once we're saved, we're always saved. So it's not that God is going to take away our salvation. Say, oh, you didn't pass the test, you don't get to be saved.

It's not that. But just like the assayer tests the little stone that somebody says, hey, I think this is gold, tests the stone. And the result of that test is that he approves.

He identifies it as gold. He officially declares it as a precious metal. In the same way your tests reveal the genuineness.

That's what he says here, right? The genuineness of your faith. And when we have faith in God to save us, genuine faith is an enduring faith. When the tests come, it exposes and reveals your faith in Christ to be real, to be authentic from God's side, you will never lose your salvation.

You are kept by the power of God. As Peter says, on your side, if you are truly a believer, you will never stop believing, right? You will not stop believing in Him. And the test reveals that just like Job, when all the good stuff vanished, he says, you know what? You're still my God and I still trust you and I worship you and you are good.

That's what happens to true believers when all these things are taken away or any one of these things is taken away. That is a test. Inauthentic believers give up and say, well, fine, I'm not going to follow God anymore.

But true believers endure. Genuine faith is enduring faith and suffering and pain not only tests the authenticity of your faith, but also tests and reveals the quality of your faith. He doesn't just say it's like gold, what does he say about it in verse five, the genuineness of your faith being much more precious than gold.

So these tests expose not only the genuineness of your faith, but also the value of your faith. And enduring faith is valuable. Faith testing allows you to demonstrate that your faith is real, but also that your faith is strong.

Not so much because you can work up the strength of your faith, but because it's in one who is strong and who is worthy of your trust. And that is your great God, right? And the tests reveal that. And in that sense, testing can increase the value of your faith.

So we talked about the assayer, right? Who does the it's actually called an acid test can test the genuineness of your faith. There is also a step called appraising. So you have an assayer and an appraiser, and an appraiser tests the value, the assayer tests the authenticity and the appraiser tests the value.

You might have heard of the term touchstone. Have you ever heard that term touchstone? Well, a touchstone is actually a kind of stone that somebody can take a piece of gold and draw it along the stone and then compare that to different levels, different degrees of genuineness that are depicted there and say, okay, this is ten carat. This is 14 carat, this is 18 carat and actually identify the value of that gold.

That's what he's telling us that our tests do. They reveal the authenticity, but they also identify the value. And it is enduring faith.

That is valuable faith. And as you respond by worshipping God in the midst of your pain, as you respond by not assigning blame to God, as you respond by accepting what God has allowed or done in your life as a test, what happens? The value of your faith goes up. It is purified.

It is intensified. And what's the result of that? God is glorified. Right? That's what he says in verse eight.

Whom having not seen let me back up to verse 7. May be found to praise so your faith. Those testify fire may be found to praise honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Whom having not seen you love, though now you do not see him, yet believing you rejoice with joy and expressible and full of glory, receiving the end of faith, your faith, the salvation of your souls. So your faith brings praise and honor and glory to Jesus Christ. Just like when, let's say a man gives somebody he loves, a woman he loves, a piece of jewelry and he probably tries to not only get what he can afford but maybe the most he can afford because he wants to get a piece of jewelry with high quality in order to show the degree of his love.

In the same way we want our faith to be of high quality when Jesus comes or we go to be with Him, as he says, whom, having not seen you love in verse eight because we want to show Him our love and because that will ultimately bring him glory. So valuable faith is God glorifying faith. And as Peter says back in verse three, blessed be the Lord.

In verse six. In this you greatly rejoice. And in verse eight, the yet believing you rejoice with joy, inexpressible and full of glory.

That is our response to him in the church. I pastored in South Carolina. Ron Hamilton was our music pastor.

When Ron was 28 years old, he was diagnosed with cancer in his left eye and it had to be surgically removed. And that's a great physical loss and a serious handicap. It's a lot for a young man to go through.

Ron was encouraged by Philippians four four, which says rejoice in the Lord always. And again I say rejoice. And the result of God's work in his life and especially that verse, was the song he wrote based on his experience that goes like this even if you know it well, which some of you probably do.

Listen to how it connects with everything we've been describing here today. God never moves without purpose or plan when trying his servant and molding a man give thanks to the Lord though your testing seems long in darkness he gives a song and think of this in connection with someone losing sight. I could not see through the shadows ahead.

So I looked at the cross of my savior instead. I bowed to the will of the master that day. Then peace came and tears fled away.

Now I can see. Testing comes from above. God strengthens his children and purges in love.

My Father knows best, and I trust in his care. Through purging more fruit I will bear. And those words represented the response of that man to a severe trial.

But their family's trials did not end there. In 2013, their 34 year old son, the Hamilton's 34 year old son, died tragically. In 2017, Ron was diagnosed with early onset dementia.

He is now homebound and has to be cared for by nurses in his family. And this is still their testimony. This is still their heart, and this is still their song.

That's superhuman. That comes from God, and God can help you do the same. Would you just quietly bow your heads, quiet your hearts? What is your response to your suffering and pain? There are common responses.

The uncommon responses are to worship God, not blame God, and accept the test as from God. And maybe right now, in your heart, you just need to say, Lord, I worship you. I will not blame you.

I will not assign folly. I will not question what you're doing as something without purpose. And I accept the adversity as a test from you that enables and allows me to show you my love, to increase the value of my faith so that you'll be glorified.

Father, help each of us to respond in these ways whenever we face hard things. I pray, especially for people who are here or people that we know going through suffering and pain, that you would, by Your grace, enable each one to have this response. We pray in Jesus’ name.

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