In Abundance or Affliction
Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts encourages readers to search their lives each day for what the Lord has done for them. In it, she daily notes God’s abundant generosity to her in gifts both large and small, ranging from the simple beauty of iridescent bubbles in the dish sink to the incomparable salvation of sinners like herself (and the rest of us!). Ann contends that gratitude is the key to seeing God in even the most troubling of life’s moments.
Job is famous for a life of such “troubling” moments. Indeed, his losses were deep and many. Just moments after losing all his livestock, he learns of the simultaneous death of all his ten children. Job’s profound grief was evidenced in his response: he “tore his robe and shaved his head” (1:20). His words in that painful hour make me think Job knew the practice of gratitude, for he acknowledges that God had given him everything he’d lost (v. 21). How else could he worship in the midst of such incapacitating grief?
The practice of daily gratitude can’t erase the magnitude of pain we feel in seasons of loss. Job questioned and grappled through his grief as the rest of the book describes. But recognizing God’s goodness to us—in even the smallest of ways—can prepare us to kneel in worship before our all-powerful God in the darkest hours of our earthly lives.
O God, You are the Giver of all good things. Help me to recognize Your generosity in even the smallest ways and to trust You in seasons of loss and hardship.
Job 1 captures the weight of why God allows suffering through two vividly contrasting portraits. First, we see the joy shared in Job’s family while he wholeheartedly served God. This image is followed by one of a still-devoted Job grieving the near-complete destruction of that life.
To learn more about why God allows suffering, visit christianuniversity.org/CA211.