Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Consider Job

Why do bad things happen to good people?  If there is a God, why is there so much suffering in the World?  These are a few of the questions that I have heard asked by people that are learning about God.  Even for us Christians, similar questions sometimes plague us.  If God really loves me, then why did I just lose my job, my child, my house, or have some other terrible fate befall me?  I love God; why am I going through these difficult times?   How do I stay faithful to God in the midst of my trials?  Questions like these are asked frequently when we or our loved ones go through trials.   

The topic of suffering is one that has been at the forefront of my mind the last several years.  As I have read through various parts of the Bible, I have paid close attention to what God has to say about the pain in the world.  The Bible is filled with the stories of real life people, so of course these narratives include all kinds of tribulations.  Job is one such book that people often read and quote when trying to answer questions about suffering.  This book not only gives an explanation for at least one reason why troubles befall man, but it also gives a very good example for how God wants us to deal with difficulties.

Although more than half of this book was included in this week's reading, I would like to focus on the first chapter.  We will start with a look at the end of the chapter.  According to verse 13, all of Job's first set of misfortunes happened on the same day.  First, a servant came and informed Job that his oxen and donkeys and the servants with him were attacked and killed (Job 1:14-15).  In the next verse, he finds out that all of his sheep and the workers nearby were burned up by fire (Job1:16).  Right after that his camels and those with them were killed in a raid (Job 1:17).  As if this weren't enough bad news for one day, he next learned the worst news possible: all of his children were killed when a great wind destroyed the house that they were in (Job 1:18-19).

The last three verses of the chapter discuss Job's response to the calamity.  He tore his robe and shaved his head, which were common signs of mourning in that time.  Immediately he also fell to the ground and worshiped God saying, "Naked I came from my mother's womb and naked I shall return there.  The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord" (Job 1:21).  Even though Job didn't know the reason for his suffering, he didn't sin or blame God.

Job wasn't privy to the cause of his suffering, but we are.  The first half of this chapter tells us of a conversation that occurs between the Lord and Satan.  God extols the virtues of Job during this discussion, but Satan responds that Job only follows the Lord because of all the blessings bestowed upon him.  He believes that if God would take all the good away that Job would curse Him.  God responded by saying, "Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him."   So in a nutshell, all of these disasters befell Job as a test from Satan.  Even though he didn't know about Satan's conversation with the Lord, Job responded to these disasters by worshiping God.

Hopefully we can all take comfort in Job the next time we go through trials whether big or small.  Perhaps we are going through the difficulties because God found us faithful and Satan doesn't like it, so he is testing us.  I also hope that we can draw strength from Job to face suffering with the same attitude of worship rather than blame.   


Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE(R), Copyright(c) 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

No comments:

Post a Comment