This past weekend we went to the regional DesiringGod conference in Austin, TX, with John Piper. The theme was "Job: When the Righteous Suffer." All three sessions were powerful and timely.
Job: When the Righteous Suffer (Part 1)
Job: When the Righteous Suffer (Part 2)
Job: Question & Answer Session
Piper began the conference by giving 10 reasons why he "came to Austin to talk about Job":
1. Hundreds of you have suffered or are suffering and are looking for light in your darkness.See also,
2. Suffering is coming. For sure. Basic discipleship means tribulations.
3. Persecution, disease, war, disability, disaster, freak accident, assault—all are alike in this: Satan aims to destroy your faith, but God aims to strengthen it.
4. Natural disasters put theodicy in the news: tsunami, Katrina, flooding, tornadoes, avalanches.
5. God is rejected by many because of the suffering in the world.
6. There are Christians who openly question the sovereignty of God over all suffering.
7. God's wise, good, just, absolute sovereignty is pastorally precious beyond measure. Being able to say, "Satan meant it for evil, but God..." gives hope and strength. Nothing is wasted. Nothing surprises God.
8. Suffering is appointed as one way the Gospel is spread.
9. The supreme value and glory and admirableness of Christ is shown most clearly when Christians treasure Christ more than they treasure what they're losing—health, wealth, family, or life.
10. Job is the main book in the Bible dealing with suffering. It can help us in all these ways.