Why do bad things happen to good people?
I would like to quote Philip Yancee’s in his book “The Jesus I Never Knew” to answer this question.
“As a child, I saw the miracles as guarantees of personal safety. Did not Jesus promise,” … not one will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father”? Later, I learned that this promise appears in the midst of a series of dire warnings to the twelve disciples, in which Jesus predicts their arrest, persecution, and death. According to tradition, the eleven disciples who survived Judas all died martyrs’ deaths. Jesus suffered, as did the apostle Paul and most early Christian leaders. Faith is not an insurance policy. Or, as Eddie Askew suggests, maybe it is: insurance does not prevent accidents, but rather gives a secure base from which to face their consequences.” p. 181
Being a Christian does not guarantee us safety from all evil. In fact the apostle Peter is quite clear on this:
1 Pet 5:8-9 8 Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. (NIV)
The suffering we go through in this world, does not come from God, it comes from the devil, himself. In fact he is quite nasty about it. He causes the suffering and then accuses God for creating it. It is a little bit like accusing the Americans of causing the collapse of the World Trade Center. It is easy to blame others for our own doings.
Even Jesus was not spared from any harm. Far from it, He was mocked, ridiculed, abandoned by all his friends and died the most gruesome death that has ever existed on earth. If Jesus went through hardship, why would we expect to be exempt from that? The devil will not respect our opinion in this aspect. In fact he wouldn’t respect any opinions we may have.
Does this mean that nothing good comes out of all that suffering? Scottish minister George Matheson wrote in his journal: “My soul, reject not the place of thy prostration! It has ever been the robing room for royalty. Ask the great ones of the past what has been the spot of their prosperity; they will say, “It was the cold ground on which I once was lying.” Ask Abraham; he will point you to the sacrifice of Moriah. Ask Joseph; he will direct you to his dungeon. Ask Moses; he will date his fortune from his danger in the Nile. Ask Ruth; she will bid you build her monument in the field of her toil. Ask David; he will tell you that his songs came from the night. Ask Job; he will remind you that God answered him out of the whirlwind. Ask Peter; he will extol his submission in the sea. Ask John; he will give the palm to Patmos. Ask Paul; he will attribute his inspiration to the light that struck him blind. Ask one more—the Son of Man. Ask Him whence has come His rule over the world. He will answer, “From the cold ground on which I was lying —the Gethsemane ground; I received my sceptre there.”
As you can notice here, God’s power is perfected in weakness. The devil is defeated by his own schemes when he attacks God’s own people and they begin to rely more and more on their Heavenly father.
It is amazing how patient God is when confronted by all these accusations. One day, we will experience true happiness!
Rev 21:4 4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (KJV) Why will this be possible? Rev 20:10 10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. (KJV)
The devil will be dealt with. No more false accusations. No more suffering caused by our enemy. We will be free at last!
Will you accept Him now in your life? You can be part of this paradise when Jesus comes back. The choice is yours.
First of all we should understand that no one of us is ‘good’. We have all fallen short of the glory of God and are worthy of death. However, some have accepted the sacrifice of Christ as atonement for their sins and are ‘saved’. These, whilst still sinful are considered justified before God. Life has no guarantees. The only things that the ‘just’ are protected from are direct judgements from God. Thus was Noah and his family saved from the flood. Lot was saved out of Sodom. The Children of Israel were protected from the plagues that befell Egypt, and the people of God will be protected during the last plagues to fall on earth.
Things that are naturally occurring or are caused by mankind fall on both the just and the unjust. Individuals may resort to prayer and some will be miraculously spared on an individual basis, but for the most part the guilty and the innocent suffer together.
Matthew 5:45-AV That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Romans 2:11-AV For there is no respect of persons with God.
Deuteronomy 10:17-AV For the LORD your God [is] God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:
Another aspect to consider is a spiritual one. We have a powerful enemy in Satan. Jesus Himself was not spared. Jesus told us that we could not expect to be treated any better by the world than He was.
John 15:20-AV Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
We must understand that Satan is the prince of this world. He won that right when Adam ‘sold out’ to him. He represented earth in conferences of the Sons of God in this capacity.
Job 1:6-AV Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.
Job 1:7-AV And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
Jesus has paid the price for the redemption of the earth and mankind and is now our ‘legal’ owner. However, Satan remains in control until such time as Jesus returns and uses whatever force is necessary to wrest control from him. Until that happens, we are somewhat at the mercy of Satan and those who he controls. They will one day be held accountable for the evil things they have done, when God will exact vengeance upon them.
It is a feature of the way God does things that we all have a choice whether we will do good or whether we will do evil. If God were to prevent evil from happening then it would be the same as removing that choice from us. For that reason, evil doers do bad things and the innocent, if they are their victims, must suffer.
John 16:33-AV These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Acts 14:22-AV Confirming the souls of the disciples, [and] exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
We have not been promised a smooth ride, quite the opposite. But we have been promised a safe arrival. Our hope is the promise of eternal life in paradise. That is the reward of the Just. To get this reward we must put our faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus who paid the penalty for our sins. There is no other way to gain eternal life. When we grasp that promise and believe that the God of heaven became flesh and dwelt among us as Jesus Christ, nothing the world throws at us, not even our physical death, can touch us.
We are protected from evil, but not from the consequences of evil things done by others. No one can pluck us from the hand of God, once we have given ourselves to Him. He will strengthen us in times of trouble, will take care of our spirit when we die, and will reunite it with our new body at the resurrection. The knowledge that we are safe for eternity, is our peace and security.
I pray that all readers will avail themselves of this wonderful insurance policy,
But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. (NIV) Psalm 73:2-3
A series of events recently caused me to ponder, as the writer of Psalm 73; “Why do the wicked prosper?” That question ranks up there as one of the big mysteries of life, along with the question; “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
As I studied the Bible, prayed and cried out to God for wisdom, God led me on a journey where I considered several questions, formed several theories and finally got some pretty clear answers. Let me share my discoveries, and hopefully shed some light on what I no longer consider a stumbling block of the faith, but a foundation block.
God first asked me to define “prosper” and then to define “wicked”.
Although David did not write Psalm 73, he did write many psalms questioning why God was allowing evil men to prosper. Many of those evil men were part of King Saul’s army. Saul looked prosperous – he was King, he had a mighty army, lots of money and power, yet he turned his back on God and was plagued by an evil spirit. Did he prosper?
David, on the other hand, was a lowly shepherd boy. He was also a “man after God’s own heart.” Later when God did fulfil His promise to make David the king, David abused that power to woo Bathsheba to himself and then kill her husband Uriah (2 Samuel 11). David was a mighty king with great riches and victories, and despite his sin, shared in the bloodline of Christ. Was David wicked? Did David prosper?
Finally, let’s take my life (or yours if you have asked the same question.). Do we prosper? I personally live a wonderfully comfortable life, surrounded by friends and loved ones, free to worship God and bask in His mercy and grace. Furthermore, I know that I will spend eternity in heaven with God. I am certain and positive of my place in God’s kingdom. Are there times when I am wicked? Unfortunately I must say yes, and I could introduce you to people who can vouch for that, and might have asked the same question regarding me (Why do the wicked prosper?).
Now I ask the final question. “What’s it to ya?”
Who are we to question God’s judgment? Why are we concentrating on someone else’s moral condition?
Only God knows each person’s heart and each person’s destiny. It may look like others are “getting away with murder.” In actuality, each one of us got “away with murder” when Jesus Christ, God’s only son died a horrible death on a cross and faced separation from His Father, when he paid the price for our wickedness (sins).
To quote David, one who asked the same question and got the same answer. “Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong. . .Be still before the Lord and wait for Him.” Psalm 37:1 & 7a.
I think that there can be one of three reasons.
1. God is trying to get our attention. We may not be aware of a sin and He therefore allows us to suffer in order for us to lean on Him and His word. An example of this is Job. He was considered righteous by God yet a lot of bad things happened to him. God certainly got Job’s attention and he ended up being even more righteous.
2. We are part of this world. By virtue of the fact that we live on the planet we are under attack from the devil. God provides us with the armour but we still have to fight the battle here and now. Each and every day we have to consciously put on the armour of the Lord as He has given it to us in Ephesians 6:11-24. Then we can endure to the end. and our prize is found in Romans 5:3-4″We also boast of our troubles, because trouble produces endurance,endurance brings God’s approval, and his approval creates hope.”
3. Some times we are just in the wrong place at the wrong time and have to suffer the consequences of another persons actions and decisions. Even in this situation the Lord can use us if we are led by Him. Instead of blaming others or even ourselves we can be praising the Lord because this is what he wants us to do. Romans 12:12 “Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times” and Romans 8:28 “We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom he has called according to his purpose.” ,teach us how to handle adversity. If we rest in the Lord and have faith that whatever happens in our lives both good and bad will ultimately be for our benefit then we can “rejoice in the Lord always and again I say rejoice.”Phil 4:4
The question: Why do bad things happen to good people?
First reaction: The Word says “There is none good but the Father.” So therefore; “bad” things do not happen to good people.
We need to define the word “bad.” Does that mean we will suffer times of severe and painful trial? So did Jesus and we are to emulate Him. If that is ever going to be possible then we must be willing to partake also of His suffering. So, in this instance, it is not “bad” it is an opportunity for SHARED SUFFERING.
We also have to address our perception of what constitutes “bad”. We hesitate not to ask God to bless us but we seem to think we know what that blessing should look like. Sometimes the best gifts He gives are disguised as hard and painful times. It is not the gift itself on which we must focus but on the result. Like a child who cries at the thought of another shot to prevent tetanus, he/she is unable to see the result, at the time of the innoculation, of good health. Bad things can worketh PATIENCE and TRUST.
Job was tried in every way possible. He was a man who intimately knew loss. His wife sneared at him demanding he curse God. This is comparable to thinking that we, as “good” people are not deserving of such hardship. Why not? Why not us? If God can not count on His own to lead the way, on whom can He count? Hard times can be a call into His SERVICE.
Job’s FAITH was being tried and refined. There are times we are hand picked by God to demonstrate how to remain faithful through hard times. Remember Job’s three friends? They were too busy condemning Job to have learned the lesson. Everytime Jesus was richly blessed by the Father, He was immediately sent out to the wilderness. The wilderness is a lonely place of thirst and hunger. It is a place where one can be hard pressed, deeply pressed, shaken and tempted. It can shake even the firmest of resolves. But on the other side…once you have come through…the gift is renewed STRENGTH.
Why do we get an opportunity to have these attributes worked into us? Because “He who began a good work in you, will be faithful to complete it.” This is the life He called you to. A life of walking in faith when the pain of life blinds you so you are ready to give an answer for your hope in season and out. A life of KNOWING there is no strength on which you stand and breathe but that which He gives.
The Bible says “it rains on the just and the unjust”. The Bible is full of many wonderful promises but it never says that we will not suffer, actually it says the opposite. In many places it says that we MUST suffer with Christ in order to rein with Christ. Sometimes we think to highly of ourselves, thinking we should not have to endure hard things, but Christ who was ruler over us all suffered horrible things, how can we think that we are in better. Job was a righteous man in all things, but look at the things that he suffered. Many times we show the world a light by the way we act when we are in hard things. Roses smell wonderful but their fragence is even greater when they are crushed. Here’s a little poem, I love what it says: I walked a mile with pleasure, She chattered all the way, But I left none the wiser for all she had to say. I walked a mile with Sorrow and never a word said she, But Oh the things that I have learned Since Sorrow walked with me.
Napier, April D LRN
A time-old question, and one that doesn’t have an easy answer, but this is what I think. God is perfect, and so is His will for the world. However, human beings and the world are not perfect, and I think this is part of what explains this hard truth. Being created in God’s image, human beings have the feeedom of choice, and unfortunately, abuse them freedom very frequently. Often, one of the results of this abuse is causing bad things to happen to good people. Very often, this serves as a reminder that all need God. Another reason, too, is that God is often able to bring good results out of tragic or bad circumstances. Sometimes it shows the person under affliction that they are stronger than they realized, sometimes it’s to teach a lesson, and sometimes it allows certain events to happen that would not have happened otherwise. I don’t have all the answers to this, but one thing I am sure of is that God will not allow us to be afflicted beyond what we can handle. He is faithful and just, and He takes care of us, even when we may not realize it. In Christ,
Bad things happen to ALL people. Not just good or bad people, but ALL people. We can’t even begin to understand the why’s, but we just need to remember that all things happen for a reason to complete the Lord’s perfect plan for us on earth. We needn’t question or wonder why. We need to just have faith and trust that whatever things happen, the Lord will turn goodness out of it for His glory. He will continue His plan until it is time for those who believe to join Him in His most perfect kingdom. Once there, we will THEN understand all the reasons and have all of our questions answered. Until then, we need to just stay strong in Him and keep steadfast in our faith. May ALL be blessed.
BLESSINGS TO YOU! DeeDee
Listen to what God says!
Behold the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have separated you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, so that he will not hear you (Isaiah 59:1-2). God has not left us. His ear is not closed to us. He has not turned from us – we have turned from him.
Question: I feel that according to scripture God is in control of everything that happens – He is God. Sometimes things are allowed to happen to us because God wants to let us see that we are not as spiritual as we gave ourselves credit for. It makes us realize our dependency on God. We can do all things through Christ Jesus. But this is the Key – through Christ Jesus. My question is, why do terrible things that seem to destroy godly people happen? They are doing their best to live for the Lord, to the Best of their ability, as they search the scriptures to live a better Christian life.
Answer: There have been a number of books written on that subject. There is even one by that title – When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold S. Kushner. James Dobson has written, When God Doesn’t Make Sense Phillip Yancey has written, Where Is God When It Hurts? and Disappointment with God.
All of these books address the subject of your question, “Why do terrible things that seem to destroy godly people happen? People that are doing their best to live for the Lord and search the scriptures to live better christian lives.” (that is not an exact quotation, but it gives the intended meaning.)
Let me begin by saying, “Why God would allow a certain thing to happen,” is impossible to answer in many cases. God who knows the end from the beginning has more information to base His decision on than we who are creatures of time and space. We need to begin by acknowledging the fact that “sometimes terrible things happen to godly people.” Since no one can deny this, the challenge is, how shall we cope with this reality? Sometimes terrible things happen to godly people because they are godly, as with Jesus, the apostles, and martyrs from the early church until now. Part of our problem comes from the fact that we think that when we are trying to serve the Lord to the best of our ability that would should be protected from painful things in life. However, life is a catalyst for problems. Life is hard. Life is not fair. Life will not devote itself to making us happy. Jesus said, “In this world you shall have tribulation…” He didn’t give details as to why except for the on going battle between good and evil in the world. Christian couples have babies that are deformed. Christians have deceases, alzheimers, cancer, and any other dreadful deceases. “Time and chance happen to them all” (Ec.9:11). Also read Psalms 73.
Even though these things happen through various natural means that causes such illnesses, Satan tries to use them to destroy our faith. Amy Carmichael developed crippling arthritis and spent years confined to a bed. Once while she was disoriented because of pain some people came and stole her bed and left her lying on the floor. Being confined to a bed kept her from doing all she wanted to do as a missionary in India. In one of her letters she wrote, “I may be in Nero’s prison but I am not Nero’s prisoner, I am a prisoner of the Lord.” Paul was literally in Nero’s prison, but he too called himself a prisoner of the Lord. Both of these saints suffered – one in a prison made of stone and steel bars and the other in a prison of affliction made of inflammation and swollen joints.
Amy wrote a beautiful poem called “No Scar”. One line says:
Can he have followed far
Who has no wound nor scar?
There are so many painful things in life that we have no control over. The only thing we have a choice in is our attitude and how we handle the problem. Pain inevitable, but to be destroyed by it is optional. Amy and Paul both suffered a great deal of pain, but they endured. Paul describes their secret of endurance best in 2 Timothy 4:7: “…I have kept the faith….” Perhaps the answer to your question is best found in the words of the old song:
We’ll talk it over in the bye and bye.
We’ll talk it over my sweet Lord and I.
I’ll ask the reason; He’ll tell me WHY
When we talk it over in the bye and bye.
Ministry of Lorain County Free Net Chapel
Bailey Gertrude E NSSC
[ I know that this is rather long; but it is necessary to help you understand “Why bad things happen to good people” Job was a prime example of this and with this in mind here is the answer. Keep in mind that god loves us all and as with Job…it is the handiwork of satan…not God. God however, does allow the testing of our faith as you will see He did with Job, to simply answer this wiht a small paragraph doesn’t explain it properly or give you the full understanding of the question above.]
Suffering is a test. It’s a test of our faith, our character, our values, and our love for God. It’s a test that can make us bitter or better. It can make us bitter if we jump to the wrong conclusions about why God has allowed our pain. It can make us better if our eyes are opened to the wonder, power, wisdom, goodness, and love of God. Job went into the fire a good and godly man. He came out better for his trouble. We pray that through what is written here, you will come to a deeper appreciation not only of Job but of the God he learned to trust as never before.
When the telephone brings us bad news, or when the doctor’s quiet voice says the words we dreaded to hear, how do we respond? Emotionally, do we become saddened, or angry? Mentally, do we become detached, or philosophic? Spiritually, are we hurt, or puzzled? Do we ponder our situation in the light of what we have been taught about the goodness and fairness of God? In all probability, we will question why this is happening to us. After all, we’ve been led to believe that God is a God of love. We’ve been told over and over again that He treats His people right. We have heard that God wants us healthy and prosperous. So why are we getting all this bad news now? Why is He hammering us with blow after blow? We may begin to ask: How could God do this to me? Why couldn’t He have waited a few more years? The world is full of people worse than I. Why couldn’t He have hit one of them? I’ve been faithful to God. Why is He treating me like this? These are not unusual responses. In fact, a man in the Old Testament named Job asked similar questions. Before we look into his book to see the conclusions he came to, let’s look at some of the wrong answers people give for suffering.
Why does God allow suffering? What kind of God lets terrible affliction strike good people while He lets bad people off the hook? Here are some popular explanations that express various points of view. God Must Be Down on Me. When suffering and trouble come, some people feel that they must have done something to make God mad at them. A woman who gets bad news about cancer, for example, may say to herself, “My failures as a mother are finally catching up with me.” Others may feel that they are “taking it on the chin” because God is angry at someone close to them. Or a teenage boy may say, “God gave my dad a heart attack because of something I did.”
God Doesn’t Care. These people react to suffering by thinking that God just doesn’t care about them. They transfer their low view of themselves to God, feeling that they are not worthy of His attention. They believe that if He really is concerned about mankind, He is giving His attention to more important people. If He cared, He would answer their pleas and heal them of their disease or take away their sorrow. God Isn’t in Control. Other people believe that the circumstances of life are out of God’s reach. They are convinced that even though He can control many things, God cannot keep the harmful effects of our world from reaching us. He may rule heaven, but He cannot rule earth. Their view of God’s power is limited. They conclude that there are some things He just cannot keep from happening. God Doesn’t Stop Satan. People who hold this view conclude that since Satan is the “prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2) and “the god of this age” (2 Cor. 4:4), God is only in control of heaven. Because of that, Satan can do whatever he wants with us. And because we are God’s children, Satan focuses his attention on us. These people sometimes say that Satan doesn’t pay much attention to us as long as we are not serving God. But if we begin to overcome sin aggressively, or if we start to have success in leading others to Christ, then Satan sends some affliction to us like he did to Job. He wants to discourage us and stop our spiritual growth. God Isn’t Fair.
Some people honestly believe they are suffering because God is not treating them fairly. They are convinced that He has shortchanged them, while giving others more than they deserve. Such people are wrapped up in human comparisons. They determine who deserves what on purely human terms. “Why me?” they ask. “Why do I always have to get the short end of the stick?” In so doing, they are accusing God of being both unjust and unfair. They are echoing the cry of the prophet Habakkuk: “Why do You hold Your tongue when the wicked devours one more righteous than he?” (1:13). Job could have responded to his suffering in any one of these ways. In fact, at times each of these thoughts may have gone through his mind. But in the end, Job had learned to trust God while enduring the worst kinds of suffering. This should help us in our times of trouble as well.
“When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold” (23:10).
Before we can understand the experience of Job, we need to review his times and his story. Was Job a real person? Some have said that the man from Uz was not a real person. They say he represents all who suffer. But the evidence, both from the Bible and from history, indicates that Job actually lived in the Middle East long ago, and that he did experience the things recorded in the book that bears his name.
The Bible treats Job as a real person. In Ezekiel 14:20, for example, Job was named with two other men, Daniel and Noah, as examples of holiness. And in the New Testament, James used Job as an example of patience (5:11). Archeologists have found that there were several men of history named Job (Hebrew, Iyyob). The earliest of these lived about 2000 BC. While none of them was the Job of the Bible, they show that the name was commonly used. What kind of man was he? Two phrases summarize what we know about Job. He was: A good and godly man. The Bible tells us that Job was a person of strong character and unparalleled godliness. In 1:8 this is what God said about Job: Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? We are also told that Job offered sacrifices every day on behalf of his children in case they had sinned in their days of feasting (1:5). Like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, he served as the family priest.
A prosperous man. The Lord had blessed Job with great wealth. He owned so many domesticated animals and had such a large household of workers and servants that he was called “the greatest of all the people of the East” (1:3). When did Job live? It is very likely that Job lived in Abraham’s time. We can conclude this because, like Abraham, he lived more than 100 years (42:16), he was priest for his family (1:5), and His wealth was in domesticated animals (1:3). Further, no mention of Israel was made, and the mention of Sabeans (1:15) and Chaldeans (1:17) fits the time historically. All of these factors indicate that the events of Job appear to fit chronologically into the Bible at about Genesis 12. Where did Job live? Job was from “the land of Uz” (1:1). The exact location of Uz is not known, but two are suggested. Some scholars locate Uz northeast of Palestine in the land of Aram (modern Syria; point A on map). They do this because Genesis 10:23 states that Uz was the son of Aram. Further, an eastern location is supported by the fact that Job was referred to as “the greatest of all the people of the East” (1:3). Other scholars, however, citing Lamentations 4:21, place Uz south of Palestine in Edom. They also point out that Eliphaz, one of Job’s three friends, was from Teman, a city in Edom.
Let’s take a look at the story of Job so we can see the details more clearly in their context. The events take place in two locations: in heaven and in the land of Uz. When Satan appeared at an assembly of “the sons of God” (angels), the Lord asked him where he had been (1:6,7). When Satan said that he had been roaming the earth, God asked him, “Have you considered My servant Job?” (v.8). With attention drawn to Job’s goodness, Satan then mocked God by implying that if Job had not been so richly blessed by the Lord, he never would have considered serving Him. Testing. So God gave Satan permission to test Job. It’s as if the Lord said, “Let’s test your theory. Take it all away from him. We’ll just see what happens.” God placed Job into His enemy’s hands for two cycles of oppression. First, Job would lose his possessions and his children. Then, he would be afflicted with a loss of health and a loss of his reputation in the community. The blows fell upon Job one after another. Nothing was left. Everything he had worked for was gone. He had buried each of his children. His mind was in agony. His body was filled with pain. His heart was burdened with sorrow. And his wife, her own heart filled with grief, advised Job, “Curse God and die!” (2:9). Although he was grieved and broken, Job did not collapse. He responded to his trouble in a way that revealed his inner character–his godliness. When crushed, worship flowed out in his words, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (1:21).
Inadequate Consolation. Three of Job’s friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, came to the side of their suffering friend. A fourth person, a younger man named Elihu, listened in. These friends, however, did more than just console Job. After sitting in silence 7 days, they began to give their own explanations for his suffering. In three cycles of speeches, they assumed that Job was guilty of some terrible sin. They said that God was punishing him and that he must confess his sin before God would take away his trouble. Hurt and frustrated, Job answered each of his critics’ speeches by insisting that he was not guilty of the kind of sins they were accusing him of. When he remembered how happy he had once been, it made his situation all the more unbearable. Job cried out to God from the depths of his misery. The Storm Rises. (Unable to stand it any longer, Elihu broke in to offer four separate speeches (chs.32–37). As a great storm began to rise, he criticized Job’s friends for accusing Job of evils they could not prove. He criticized Job for defending his own honor at the expense of God. Things were building to a climax as the storm swept in upon them.
The Voice of God. Finally the storm broke–and out of its fury came the voice of God (38:1–40:2). Job answered; then God spoke again. With a long series of penetrating questions, He called attention to His might, revealing His character to Job–majestic in holiness, limitless in power, and deserving of his trust. What could Job do? Completely overwhelmed and filled with awe, he acknowledged God’s right to be God, fell at His feet, and repented in dust and ashes, In the presence of God’s creative wisdom and power, he was humbled and silenced. Even though he had not received an explanation for his suffering, his perspective had been renewed. Restoration. In a brief epilogue, we are told of Job’s restoration. His possessions were increased, he was given seven sons and three beautiful daughters, and he lived another 140 years before he died. In the cycle of Job’s suffering we can see our own response to terrible, heart-breaking calamity. Job grieved; we grieve. Job lamented; we cry out for sympathy. Job was falsely accused; so sometimes are we. Job remained strong in his faith; so can we. Yes, we can learn from this book. We can learn about ourselves. We can learn about our own deep and powerful emotions, our own sorrow, and our own capacity to rise to great heights of faith. Even more, we can learn about God and His role in human suffering. And, as we will see in the pages to follow, that is what will help us to understand and endure the afflictions that come into our lives.
To grasp the tremendous force of this book, we must keep in mind the exceptional character of Job. He was a man of virtue and integrity–a man who believed in God and obeyed Him in a way that is exemplary to every Christian. God’s Testimony. As we have already seen, God said that Job was a man who feared Him and hated evil. We also have the testimony of God (by the inspiration of Scripture) that Job did not sin in the first two rounds of his temptation (1:22; 2:10). Job’s Testimony. Job’s critics accused him of being guilty of some terrible sin. Eliphaz accused him of being insensitive to human need (22:4-11). Job defended himself against these charges by citing his works for suffering humanity (chs.29,30):
He rescued the poor and the orphaned (29:12). He helped the dying and the widowed (v.13). He was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame (v.15). He was a father to the needy and a friend to strangers (v.16). He rescued the oppressed (v.17). He wept for the troubled and the poor (30:25). He went on to name the sins he had not committed: Lust (31:1-4).
What Job was charged with:
Cheating in business (vv.5-8). Marital unfaithfulness (vv.9-12). Insensitivity to human need (vv.13-23). Greed and idolatry (vv.24-28). Gloating over fallen enemies (vv.29-32). Hypocrisy (vv.34,35).
Testimony of Scripture. Two passages of the Bible indicate the virtuous life of Job. Ezekiel 14:14,20. In these verses, Job’s righteousness was compared to that of Noah and Daniel. James 5:11. James pointed to Job as a model of perseverance. Job stood the testing of his faith without falling. On the basis of these passages, we must admire the outstanding virtue and integrity of Job. No wonder the Lord pointed to him as an example!
THE DISCIPLINARY PURPOSES FOR TEMPTATION
Satan’s purpose for afflicting Job was to tempt him to deny the Lord. In a sense, suffering always brings with it the temptation to sin against God. But it also gives us a wonderful opportunity to testify to His greatness.
The book of Job is the inspired account of one man’s intense suffering. But it is more than that. The events of earth were the counterpoint to a dramatic confrontation in heaven. The opponents were not only Job versus his affliction, but also God versus Satan. In this sense, then, the book of Job is the record of a representative experience. Job’s reputation–his faith and virtue–was severely tested. The way he handled the series of tragedies that came into his life reflected his response to God’s character. In a similar manner, the way our faith survives testing gives witness to the knowledge of the One in whom we have put our trust. Because of this, when we look at the book of Job we also see God. And what we learn about God through Job will strengthen us for the times of suffering that come our way. We will study five different viewpoints of God from the book of Job. We will see God according to: Satan
As we probe the depth and reality of Job’s experience we will also look deeply into God’s character. And we will find that when suffering comes, He is the One who is powerful enough, good enough, and wise enough to be trusted. The angels were assembled before God. For some reason, Satan was there with them (1:6). The tension was high between Satan and the Lord. In fact, the name Satan means “adversary.” At issue was God’s place in man’s heart. Satan had been roaming the earth, and we may assume that he had observed the extent of man’s rebellion. It was then that the Lord called attention to Job and pointed out, “There is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil” (1:8). But Satan accused Job of following God for materialistic reasons, and he implied that God was his accomplice because He had blessed him. “Take everything away,” he suggested, “and Job will curse You to Your face” (1:11).
Satan’s strategy had two goals. First, he wanted to cast doubt on Job’s motives for righteousness. God was “paying him off,” he insinuated, like a political candidate today who trades votes for $50 bills. Second, Satan was attacking God’s right to be followed and obeyed. A follower who is bought, after all, is not a true follower at all. He is serving himself. If Satan could prove that Job was serving himself and not God, he thought he would have evidence that no one loves God for who He is. God accepted Satan’s challenge and put Job into Satan’s hands. The devil was free to afflict Job, but he had to stay within certain limits (1:12; 2:6). Satan must have been delighted as he left the assembly, for he was convinced that it would be easy for him to get Job to deny the Lord.
This behind-the-scenes interchange between God and Satan helps us see into God’s character more clearly. For example:
God not only knows who leads a blameless and upright life, but He is also pleased to show Satan that not all of mankind follows his evil ways. God is still faced with rebellion. The devil is in conflict with God, and we are the battleground. God is our defender; Satan is our adversary. God is in control. To be challenged is not to be dethroned. God has given Satan room to operate–even to enter the assembly of the angels. But he cannot overstep his bounds.
This exchange between God and Satan carries some valuable lessons for us when affliction comes. Our suffering may be for a supernatural cause. Job did not know that God had singled him out or that Satan was masterminding the attack. God limits Satan. Though the devil is the “god of this age,” he can go only as far as God will allow. God knows all about us, just as He knew about Job. We do not go unnoticed. God uses our suffering to show His glory. Job’s response was to witness to God’s grace.
Let’s shift our attention back to earth. An unsuspecting Job has begun the day like any other. He is unaware that Satan has been granted permission to attack him. But before the day is over, he will experience profound loss and deep sorrow. As we look into the crucible of Job’s suffering, we will see things that seem to suggest that God had changed into an angry, unjust, uncaring, and sadistic Creator.
The First Assault. A succession of messengers rushed breathlessly up to Job, each bearing bad news.
Message 1. Sabeans had swept down from the hills and stolen all of Job’s oxen and donkeys. All the herdsmen except the messenger had been killed (1:14,15). Message 2. Fire had fallen from heaven and destroyed Job’s sheep and all the shepherds but the one who brought the report (1:16). Message 3. Raiding Chaldeans had taken his camels and killed all the attendants but the one who brought the message (1:17). Message 4. A mighty wind had struck the house in which Job’s children were dining, killing everyone except the servant who came with the news (1:18,19).
Job was devastated. He had received no forewarning. The news had come to him in rapid succession. Before one messenger stopped speaking, another rushed up. All that he had worked for over the years, and all that was dear to him, was gone. His mind went numb, and his heart was filled with sorrow. Even so, Job did not lose his confidence in God. He easily could have. How simple it would have been to change in view of his changing circumstances. How quickly and (apparently) justifiably he could have vented his anger at God and cursed His name. But as trouble and pain rushed in like a flood, Job did not change his view of God. True, he sorrowed. He shaved his head and tore his robe to show his grief (1:20), which was the custom of his day. But he worshiped God and blessed His name, saying: The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord (1:21). His herds were gone and his beloved children were dead, yet he did not stop trusting God.
The Second Assault. Satan does not give up easily. He reappeared in heaven and challenged God again, implying that a person can withstand all external attack, but if he himself is affected he will fall. So he asked permission of God to attack Job again. This time Satan attacked Job’s body. He afflicted him with ugly, ulcerous sores that caused him to withdraw from everyone. His honor, his dignity, and his place in society were gone. His wife, perhaps expressing the depths of her own sorrow, advised him, “Curse God and die!” (2:9). What more could happen to him? Why should he even continue to live? Still Job did not deny the Lord. “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” he asked. Once more we are told, “In all this Job did not sin with his lips” (2:10). His faith remained.
God has not promised us an affliction-free life. God may let us lose what it has taken us a lifetime to accumulate. The same God who sends us good may let us suffer physical or emotional anguish. God does not change because our circumstances change. In bad times He is still a good God.There is nothing wrong with grieving. Job mourned his loss; so may we. Job’s assault came in waves, so we too may have more than one bad thing happen to us at once. We do not need to lose our spiritual integrity during affliction. Even Job’s wife urged him to “curse God and die,” yet he stood firm. Suppose you are in the hospital with a dreaded disease. You are suffering and discouraged. Then the news comes that friends are going to visit you. You are glad, because you need their sympathy and encouragement.
This was Job’s situation. He assumed that his friends had come to listen to his lament and to console him. But what did he hear? Words of comfort and encouragement? No! They ended up telling him that it was all his fault–like a person who visits a cancer patient and tells him that God is punishing him because he is covering up some terrible sin. Job’s three visitors, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, were wise, articulate, and respected men of the Middle East. When they heard the news of Job’s affliction, they came to console him as custom demanded.
The three men sat in sympathetic silence beside Job for 7 days, the accustomed time set aside for mourning. They did not speak until Job spoke first (ch.3). They listened intently as Job poured out his feelings. But they felt that Job was not being honest–that what he was saying cast shadows on the justice of God. So they set out to defend the honor of the Lord. They spoke in turn for three cycles of speeches. Job responded to each of their addresses, as the following chart indicates.
SPEAKER FIRST CYCLE SECOND CYCLE THIRD CYCLE Eliphaz 4:1 5:27; 15:1-35 22:1-30 Job 6:1,7:21 16:1 17:16 23:1 24:25 Bildad 8:1-22 18:1-21 25:1-6 Job 9:1,10:22 19:1-29 26:1-14 Zophar 11:1-20 20:1-29 Job 12:1 14:22 21:1-34
The three men lived In different regions around the Middle East. They were different in temperament, yet each knew a lot about God. We will look at the counsel each of them gave to Job. ELIPHAZ: “Come clean, Job.” Since Eliphaz was the first to respond, it’s assumed that he was the eldest. He came from Teman, a region known for its wise men. This philosopher/theologian, who was the most considerate of the three, spoke from the wisdom of his own life and walk with God. Eliphaz’ major point was that people do not suffer without a cause. Experience had taught him that affliction was God’s punishment for sin. His view is summarized by this excerpt from his first speech:
Remember now, who ever perished being innocent? Or where were the upright ever cut off? Even as I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same. By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of His anger they are consumed (4:7-9).
Eliphaz did not directly accuse Job of harboring some terrible sin; he merely implied it. But that was the only conclusion one could draw from his first address. In his second speech, however, Eliphaz spoke more bluntly. “Your iniquity teaches your mouth . . . Your own mouth condemns you” (15:5,6). Again appealing to observation (vv.17,18), he assumed Job’s guilt. Eliphaz’ third speech was an open charge of guilt. Almost cruelly, he accused Job of being filled with evil. “Is not your wickedness great, and your iniquity without end?” he asked (22:5). He concluded by demanding Job’s repentance (vv.22-26).
BILDAD: “You’re lying, Job.” Bildad, a resident of Shuah, was a hard-nosed traditionalist. He dismissed Job’s protestations of innocence as “strong wind” (8:2). He even said that Job’s children had died as punishment for sin. These were hardly words of comfort to a man who had faithfully sacrificed on behalf of his children (1:5). Bildad assumed Job’s terrible guilt on the basis of the past. Here is his philosophy:
For inquire, please, of the former age, and consider the things discovered by their fathers; . . . Will they not teach you and tell you? (8:8,10).
In his second speech, Bildad spoke in harsh, graphic terms of the consequences of evil: the sinner’s lamp is snuffed out (18:5), his light is dark (v.6), a trap lies in his path (v.10), and terror eats away at his skin (v.13)–a reference to Job’s physical condition. His third speech is very brief. It exalts God and compares man to a maggot–obviously what he thought of Job for insisting on his own integrity at the expense of God (25:6).
ZOPHAR: “You’re hopeless, Job.” Zophar of Naamah, a moralist, was arrogant in his orthodoxy. He reasoned that because God is fathomless and almighty, He “knows deceitful men” (11:11). Therefore, if Job would put away his evil, God would restore him (v.14). His rigid moralistic view is summarized in this excerpt from his second speech:
Do you not know this of old, since man was placed on earth, that the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment? (20:4,5).
Zophar did not offer a third speech. He probably just dismissed Job from his mind as a hopeless case.
ELIHU: “Let a young man speak.” While all this was going on, a young man sat quietly at the edge of the circle. He listened carefully to all that was said. When the cycle of speeches was finally over, he arose to speak. As the stormclouds began to gather, he angrily expressed his views in four speeches recorded in chapters 32–37. In his first speech, Elihu acknowledged that he was with men older and wiser than he (32:6-9). He pointed out that when Job had protested his innocence, no one had proven him guilty (v.12). He went on to suggest that a person who is suffering may not be enduring punishment but may be receiving a call to uprightness (33:16-18). If men were to be punished to the degree they deserved, none would survive (34:10-15).
Elihu paused, but Job did not respond as he had to the others. So he pressed on to point out that Job had made some hasty remarks about the Lord. Further, he too implied that Job’s sin had brought about his suffering (34:10-12,31-37). In chapters 36 and 37, Elihu repeated his basic premise–that a just God would not make a good man suffer–and then closed by saying that God’s ways are beyond man’s knowledge. When Elihu was finished, all the talking was done. The wisdom of men had not brought satisfaction. Instead, the emotions of Job had risen with the mounting thunderclouds. The silence between the men was mirrored by the pre-storm stillness. There awaited a more authoritative voice: the thundering voice of God. And from the storm He would speak.
The three friends of Job were accurate in their view of God as the One who punishes sin (8:20; 11:6; 18:5-21) They were correct in their belief in God as the One who knows men’s hearts (11:11; 22:12-18; 34:21). They saw God as their Maker and the Sustainer of heaven and earth (4:17; 5:10). They were right in as the One who chastens His own (5:17,18; 36:8-12). They believed in God’s justice. That’s why they assumed Job must be sinning (5:15,16; 34:10-14). We can learn from Job’s friends that we can know some things about God but not everything. We can increase the suffering of our friends by jumping to wrong conclusions about them. We can speak on behalf of God to our suffering friends just as Job’s friends spoke to him. We need to beware of assuming that we know what God is doing in someone else’s life or in our own.
It’s one thing when affliction strikes someone else; quite another when it hits you. Even a close friend or loved one cannot know the pain you are experiencing. The time comes when the phone stops ringing, the visitors all leave, the pastor returns to his office, and you are left alone to cope with the reality of your suffering. It’s then that the hard questions force themselves to the front of your mind. It’s then that you cry out to God. It’s then that you find words to express the feelings that are rolling over your soul like the pounding waves of the ocean. It’s then that you are ready to learn from Job.
We have observed that Job’s friends did not console him at all. If anything, they increased his burden. They were actually a third phase of Job’s temptation. This left Job to deal with God about his affliction. And in his words we hear the anguished cries of all who have been afflicted; in his pleadings, their cries for mercy; in his questions, their plea for answers from God for the reasons they are suffering. What Job said may be examined in four groupings:
TEXT SUBJECT Group 1 – Chapter 3 Job’s Intial Lament Group 2 4–26 Job’s Responses to His Critics Group 3 27–31: A Series of Monologues Group 4 38–42: Job’s Dialogue with God
Group 1: Job’s Initial Lament.
For 7 days the men of the East sat before Job. Custom demanded that the sufferer speak first, so Job finally broke the silence (ch.3). His first speech expressed two themes: It would be better if I had never been born (vv. 1-19). My life is in turmoil (vv.25,26). How many times have we too thought that God made a mistake in bringing us into the world? And haven’t we also felt that the world (and we ourselves) would be better off if we were just allowed to die? Life was once so good, but now there is no peace. This is Job’s lament.
Group 2: Job’s Responses to His Critics.
The second grouping of what Job said contains eight speeches. Each time one of Job’s friends spoke, he responded. Job’s answers to his miserable “comforters” show that he carried mixed feelings about God and his experience. His laments, his wish to die, and his self-defense indicate that he was somewhat self-righteous and rebellious. Yet he also praised God and expressed deep faith in God’s goodness. He continued his lament. Job repeated his cry (6:4; 7:1-21; 9:17-31; 10:1-22; 12:13-25; 13:20-14:22). His feelings are summed up in 6:4 where he says, “The arrows of the Almighty are within me.”
He defended himself. In response to his critics’ insistence that he must have been committing terrible sins, Job consistently maintained his innocence. He did not claim to be sinless. But he firmly believed that his suffering was far worse than any wrongdoing he may have done (9:25-35; 13:1-28; 16:15-21; 27:2-6). He expressed his wishes. Job’s answers to his critics contained these wishes: (1) A repeated sorrowful wish to die (6:8-10; 7:15). (2) A wish that God would leave him alone (7:16, 9:34,35; 10:20; 13:21,22; 14:6,13-15). (3) His wish to be heard (l6:18-22; 19:23,24). (4) His wish to confront God (23:3-12). He offered praise to God. In spite of his suffering, Job exalted God for His majesty (9:4,10,11; 12:10,13), His lordship of history (5:11-16; 12:14-25), His power as Creator (9:5-13; 10:8-12), and His work of creation (26:5-14). He expressed his trust in God. In one of the most triumphant passages of the Old Testament, Job cried, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth” (19:25).
Job’s comforters had driven him toward doubt, yet he resisted the onslaught and burst forth with this wonderful expression of triumph. Many feel that this was a turning point in Job’s dialogue with his critics.
Group 3: A Series of Monologues.
Job concluded his dialogue with a final protest of his innocence. My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go; my heart shall not reproach me as long as I live (27:6).In chapter 29, Job remembered his happy estate before the attack came. In chapter 30, he expressed the depth of his hurt. Finally, Job challenged God by saying: Oh, that I had one to hear me! Here is my mark. Oh, that the Almighty would answer me, that my Prosecutor had written a book! (31:35). Having expressed his feelings, Job fell silent.
God’s majesty as Creator of the universe and Source of life is reflected throughout Job’s speeches (9:15; 26:5-14) In good circumstances and bad, God the Living Redeemer will be there when earth passes away (19:25). God is our source of wisdom and strength in every changing situation (12:13-17). When our feelings are in turmoil because of deep trouble, we must cling to what we know about the goodness of God. We can express our hurt and anger to God when we are afflicted. In trouble, it helps to look beyond the moment to the day when our Living Redeemer returns. It helps to praise God in times of suffering.
Group 4: Job’s dialogue with God
Our look at God through Job began with Satan’s hostile, distorted point of view. It continues through Job’s sad experience. It was expressed in the one-dimensional perspective of Job’s friends and in the agonized speeches of Job himself. But now, at the close of the ordeal, God Himself speaks. In His two speeches, and in the responses of Job, we find the resource for bearing our own affliction. God’s First Speech (38:2–40:2). Job had challenged God to show him his wrong (31:35). Finally, out of the raging storm, God spoke. The Lord’s first speech began and ended with a reply to Job’s challenge (38:2,3; 40:2). In essence, God said, “I am about to speak, Job. And when I am finished, will you have anything left to say?” After referring to Job’s “words without knowledge,” God asked a series of penetrating questions. They forced Job to observe the witnesses to God’s power and goodness that surrounded him. Job was called to consider evidence he was familiar with; evidence from earth–not heaven. The Lord paraded the witnesses before Job in a poem with two stanzas.
Stanza 1: Witnesses from the created world. the earth (38:4-7,18) the sea (vv.8-11,16) the sun (vv.12-15) the lower world (v.17) the light and darkness (vv.19,20) the weather (vv.22-30,34-38) the constellations (vv.31-33)
Stanza 2: Testimony of the animal world. the lion (38:39,40) the raven (v.41) the mountain goat and the deer (39:1-4) the wild donkey (vv.5-8) the wild ox (vv.9-12) the ostrich and the stork (vv.13-18) the war horse (vv.19-25) the hawk (v.26) the eagle (v.27)
Job’s First Response (40:3-5). Job was humbled and silenced before the Lord. Here are his words: Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer You? I lay my hand over my mouth (40:4).
Faced with the grandeur of God as evidenced in the natural world, Job had nothing more to say. God’s Second Speech (40:7–41:34). God spoke a second time to Job, again telling him to brace himself for some hard questions (40:7; see 38:3). God reminded Job of His ability to judge rightly (40:8-14). Job’s only course of action was to place himself in the circle of God’s care and to let His justice prevail. He need not try to justify himself any longer. This was followed by a dramatic description of two mighty beasts: behemoth (40:15-24) and leviathan (41:1-34). These may be references to the hippopotamus and the crocodile. Each description contains a challenge to man to capture these powerful creatures that reflected God’s might (40:15-24; 41:1-10). Job’s Second Response (42:2-6). Job responded in two ways. First, he expressed an even deeper understanding of God’s greatness. I know that You can do everything, and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You (42:2).
Then, referring to what God had said earlier (38:2,3; 40:7), Job confessed that he had been wrong and repented of his earlier statements. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes (42:6). Job acknowledged that he was wrong to challenge God and that he would never do it again. He finally agreed that a God powerful enough to create all things is wise enough to be trusted and loving enough to do what’s right. The created world witnesses to the greatness of God (38:4-38). The animal world testifies to the majesty of God (38:39–39:30). God is the righteous Judge (40:4-8). God is the Maker of great creatures; He is the Sovereign Lord (40:15–41:34). God’s ways are to be accepted as right because He is far above man (42:2-7).
When affliction strikes, we cannot let ourselves lose sight of the awesome power of God. When trouble comes, we need to remember that God is just in all He does. When we cannot understand, we can take refuge in the truth that God’s ways are above our ways. Repentance and humility are better than questioning God or demanding a trouble-free life. Job lived 4,000 years ago in a culture vastly different from ours. Besides, God talked directly to Job. He’s not likely to do that with us. So how does the record of his experience help when you hear that your lovely, vivacious daughter has MS? you learn that you have to go in for dialysis twice a week? the doctor tells you that you have a brain tumor? you wake up in the hospital to find that 60% of your body has second- and third-degree burns? you’ve attended the funerals of all your children?
The book of Job does help. It helps because it not only focuses on one man’s suffering, but it also takes us beyond that and into the mind and character of God. It tells us things about the sovereign Lord that help us cope with trouble and heartache. The following principles stand out in the book of Job. Suffering is part of life. No one has a right to expect a life free from affliction. Even a man as righteous as Job did not escape. True, we can be healed these days in ways that would have seemed miraculous a few short decades ago. But there is still heart disease and cancer. People still have traffic accidents, planes still crash, and children still drown. From the day Adam and Eve left their garden paradise, suffering has been part of life.
To expect to live free from it is to ask more than God has said He will grant. We may never know why. The supernatural reason for our suffering may never be revealed to us. Remember, Job never knew about the confrontation between Satan and God in heaven. We may never know either. We bring suffering on ourselves. Job’s friends were right in recognizing the principle of sowing and reaping (Job 4:8; Gal. 6:7). When we neglect or abuse our bodies, we will suffer the consequences. An alcoholic may get cirrhosis of the liver. A reckless driver may end up in the hospital or the morgue. We have no right to hold it against God if we suffer as a consequence of our own foolish choices. But remember that sometimes our suffering won’t be the result of sin. In this case, Job was right.
The resolution to suffering is to be found in God’s character. When affliction disrupts our lives and destroys our serenity, we can have refuge in the goodness of God. He is the sovereign Lord. His ways are above our ways. He is the all-wise, infinite, holy, and good God. We are the creatures; He is the Creator. Therefore, like Job, let us rest in Him and trust in His incomprehensible perfection and goodness. God has joined us in suffering. Job could see only dimly what we can see clearly–that God became man to suffer on our behalf. Jesus knew the reality of excruciating pain. He knew bone-wracking tiredness. He endured mental anguish and emotional distress. He was tempted in every way we are. And He never stops interceding for us. Our faith need not fail. We may lose loved one after loved one. We may know the reality of prolonged, intense pain. Our bodies may fail and our emotions may crack. But we can always maintain our faith in God. Even though Job struggled to understand why God would allow him to suffer, he kept taking refuge in the knowledge of God’s goodness.
You can’t hide from suffering. It forces its way through the petty issues and empty self-deceptions of life. It washes away the naive idea that you will never know the kind of trouble other people are facing. It forces you to face the realities of pain and remorse and sorrow. At the very heart of the matter, coping with affliction becomes a personal matter between you and God. When your life is built on a solid trust in Him, you can respond to suffering as Job did. It is only a deep faith in God that enables a person to say, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15).
Perhaps you’ve been making your way through life without God. You’re trying to do it all on your own. If so, you need to trust in Christ and make God a part of your life. Job said, “I know that my Redeemer lives.” That Redeemer is Jesus Christ, who came to rescue you from your sin. Paul wrote, “In Him [Christ] we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Eph. 1:7). Trust in Him today. Acknowledging that you are a sinner, and admitting that you cannot save yourself, receive Him as your personal Savior (John 3:16). When you do, Job’s God will be your God. And you will know the One in whom you can place your complete trust in every circumstances of life–whether it be in times of great joy or in the kind of affliction Job had to endure.
Til The Next Time…
For The Glory Of God; Mary Bishop Leslie “Mary” Trombly c/o Jesus Of Nazareth Diocese P. O. Box 1283 Bellevue, Nebraska 68005-1283 Phone# (402) 291-0956 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I believe that bad things happen to good people because all things happen for a reason and purpose. God is in control of all things and he has a higher and more meaningful purpose for our lives.
All things that happen are not clear to us at the moment but the Lord has a purpose for good always and the results of that are sometimes either unclear to us or further down the road. Just like with Job, the Lord ended up restoring him to double to what he had before.
After the loss of my father, I saw years go by. In those years, I could have used my grief to offer others hope. But I didn’t. Fortunately, I have since.
Some things happen, such as death, because our lives on earth are temporary ones. Our perpetual lives are to be enjoyed with God, for He is all encompassing: The Alpha, the Omega, the beginning and the end. As a circle, which continues evolving, so does our Lord.
We are born with free wills. God has little if anything to do with how we use our free will. But, it is supposed to be used to prepared ourselves for our lives, hereafter.
He knows from the moment of conception how much time we will have on earth. Although lives are lost often ending in tragedy, it is the action of the person causing it that is responsible. God does not control even the evil. But satan does. God stands by us through every trial and tribulation. He stands and waits. He does not will nor does He cause destruction in any form.
The violence we see today, is a culmination of lost souls, who either have not been taught about God and His Laws (Commandments), or are drawn by poor circumstances leading up to their evil acts. As we see babies who die, it creates the clarity of His Plan. He is not punishing us. The price we had to pay, is as a consequence of our being descendants of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
Innocence is often affected by evil acts for which man is responsible. Illnesses which can be devastating to our minds, can be a wakeup call, saving our lives. They can also bring about a transition in our lives adding compassion, understanding, and the sufferings of others. Though all “losses”‘ are of a different nature, painful and chaotic causing our lives to often be turned “upside down”, some illnesses can have a derivation of which God has no fault. Some, however, come and He helps us find our way, one day at a time.
He does not cause war, famine, pestilence, nor plagues. They are results of societal activities.
We assume that our civilization is the most advanced, and some of the things that are scientifically going on are against nature and God’s Laws. However, anyone familiar with Atlantis, the Aztec, Inca, Mayan civilizations will find that they were in fact as advanced. Lobotomies and the decimal system are but two sciences that were created by the Aztecs, until the Spanish Inquisition destroyed everything the Aztecs could have contributed to a world through enlightenment.
Artifacts are found by geologists indicating a higher social order. What happened to these civilizations as learned as ours if not more? Greed. What God gave them, life, gifts, and direction were used to destroy one another.
The world is surrounded, enveloped really by sin. Because of the first sin in the garden of Edna, man has been a victim of the result of evil forces. No matter the goodness that lies within the heart of a redeemed man, evil surrounds him. Even he who is redeemed is not with out sin. Sin is evil; God is not.
When sin surrounds anyone, no matter the condition of his heart and soul; it has an effect on that person. Outside conditions affect our lives, if not our souls. A tornado, flood, plane crash, loss of a job, terrorist attacks, are all floating around this world affecting good people as well as bad. Like germs floating around, so too are sins or just bad conditions. No matter how healthy we are, germs are sometimes going to invade our bodies and have an affect on our health, so too are outside events going to affect our lives.
One cannot go through life without being affected by the bad events surrounding us. It is how we deal with the bad things that set us apart. “Woe, poor me,” is the victim. “How can I deal with this effectively?” Is the spirit of a survivor.
The bible is very clear in that none are good in God’s eyes. We all deserve hell and judgment because we are guilty before a thrice Holy God. The question should be why is God so good to terrible sinners like we are. He is gracious and merciful everyday.
God permits evil to happen to his children. I lost my wife in a car accident from a drunk driver 18 years ago this past week. My Son is permanently brain damaged. I have a rod in my left leg. God has used this accident for me to talk to other people and help them in their time of trial. God wants us to be servants for his glory. He will bring glory to his name. Bless His Holy Name. He is bringing me into the image of His Dear Son.
God bless you all
I believe bad things help Christians to grow stronger in the Lord. It allows us as Christians to grow in Faith and to help us to trust the Lord. I also believe that through every bad thing is something good. Stephen was stoned to death because of his belief in Christ and counted it as being a privilege to die for Christ and through this other I’m sure came to know the Lord. Sometimes as Christians we make stupid choices and we have to pay for those. Not all consequences are good, we think! But the outcome is for the best of us not we want, but what Christ wants. He always has the best interest of each of us! God Bless
I have often asked myself that question and I always come with this. There must be a reason or a lesson that we must learn. I don’t think God plans for bad to happen to us. He is not sitting in heaven waiting for something terrible to take place. And I believe that there are some things he can’t prevent. But someone could say God can prevent all things. I believe that too. I say that if good people do good and they listen to God, then good things should happen for them but that not always the case. Bad things do occur and we need to lean on God when they do. I ask myself why when bad people do bad they get everything they want and I ask God why do you rewards them and not people like me who try to do well for other. I haven’t receive an answer yet but I feel that we who are good will be rewarded if not here on earth but in heaven.
As much as god loves us , Satan hates us and his work is never done, he has already overtaken the bad people and has used them ,now he wants the good people and he will work on their hearts and souls so they lose faith in god because of his deeds ,,he wants the souls of good people , that’s why bad things happen to good people and will continue on ,until Satan has what he wants.
One cannot look at human suffering, regardless of its causes or origins, and not feel pain and compassion. It is easy to understand why one who lacks an eternal perspective might look at horrifying news footage of starving children in Africa or the devastation of a hurricane and shake a fist at the heavens.
“If there is a God,” the empathetic observer might wonder, “how could He allow such things to happen?”
The answer isn’t easy, but it isn’t that complicated, either. God has put His plan into motion. It proceeds through natural laws—which are, in fact, God’s laws. And because they are His, He is bound by them, as are we. In this imperfect world, bad things sometimes happen. The earth’s rocky underpinnings occasionally slip and slide, and earthquakes result. Certain weather patterns turn into hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and drought. That is the nature of our existence on this planet. Dealing with adversity is one of the chief ways in which we are tested and tutored.
Sometimes, however, adversity is man-made. That is where the principle of agency again comes into play. Keep in mind that we were so excited about the plan Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ presented that we literally “shouted for joy.” (Job 38:7.) We loved the concept of mortality and the exciting notion of moral agency. But because we’d never been mortal before, I’m not sure we could fully comprehend the impact of agency on our lives.
We tend to think of agency in a personal way. Ask someone to define “moral agency” and they’ll probably come up with something like this: “Moral agency means I’m free to make choices for myself.” But we forget that agency also offers that same privilege to others, which means that sometimes we are going to be adversely affected by the way other people choose to exercise their agency.
Heavenly Father feels so strongly about protecting our moral agency that He will allow all of His children to exercise it—for good and for evil. Of course, He has an eternal perspective that helps Him to understand that whatever pain and suffering we endure in this life, regardless of its origins and causes, it is only a moment compared with our entire eternal existence.
I hope this helps.