(This message was originally published on July 23, 2012)
I woke up early this Saturday morning thinking about the reality of what I will call “sad days and dark nights.” In the past 24-hour news cycle, we have heard of another case of senseless bloodshed and acts of evil in Aurora, Colorado. We also know people who are dealing with illness and hardship.
In short, Pastor Chuck Swindoll in one of his books simply wrote, “Life is hard.” Others ask the famous question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” C.S. Lewis said that pain and suffering is the atheist’s most potent weapon.
Well, in this brief letter, I will not presuppose to deal comprehensively with what theologians refer to as “theodicy,” but I will share with you three verses from Job 19:25-27.
December 15, 2010, I found myself sharing these verses at the memorial and homegoing service of a dear friend of mine. In the midst of my dear friend’s dying from cancer, he taught me and many others one thing he knew–“I know my Redeemer lives.” When sad days and dark nights come, by God’s grace, we can know Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, lives.
1. Knowing Jesus is personal. Job didn’t say, “I know a redeemer.” He said, “I know that my Redeemer, the Redeemer lives.” Likewise, the psalmist wrote, “The Lord is MY Shepherd.”
2. Knowing Jesus is critical. Job didn’t say, “I know the Lord lives.” Or “I know God lives.” Those are true statements. But in the midst of pain, he noted, “I know my Redeemer lives.” Redeemer = the one who paid for my sins and purchased a place for me in heaven. Interestingly, he used the present tense in his verb choice. The Lord Jesus LIVES! As Paul wrote, we do not mourn as those without hope.
3. Knowing Jesus is radical. In Job 19:26-27, Job confesses that he knew he would die at some point, yet he states that death is not the end for him. He yearned within his heart to see the Lord face to face. My redeemed friend now sees the Redeemer face to face.
Many who are reading this letter are pastors. You so often have to deal with death and the problem of pain and see suffering. My prayer is that a few verses of Scripture that encouraged my soul this morning from Job 19:25-27–words from inerrant Scripture that are the testimony of a man who suffered more than I have–will encourage you while you proclaim the Gospel of Christ.
In closing, my dear friend who went to be with the Lord in 2010 has a high-school aged son who has just returned from a mission project. I saw his son at a church event last Sunday evening and rejoiced as he stood before hundreds and basically gave this testimony, “I know my Redeemer lives.” Yes, he does. May we know our Redeemer lives, even on sad days and dark nights.