Frankly, it distresses me to think about the horror and hardship this good man endured. Logic and a sense of justice tell me evil men should suffer and good men should enjoy a long life filled with happiness, health, and prosperity. Such thinking, I discovered this morning in my quest to read through the Bible in a year, is not only wrong, but satanic.
“Have you considered my servant Job?” God asked Satan as Satan presented himself before him, “he’s blameless and upright, honors God, and runs from evil.” (my paraphrase)
“Well of course he serves you,” Satan responded, “you bless everything he touches. You’ve put a hedge around his family, blessed the work of his hands, and made him rich. Why shouldn’t he serve you?”
This is what Satan said, and we say it, too, only in reverse. We ask an equally satanic question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” as if, by virtue of their goodness, good people deserve a pain-free life.
And the reverse – if sorrow, tragedy, sickness, and loss enter their lives, it must be because they’ve sinned.
Enter Job—a righteous man who suffered horribly and whose story debunks all our false assumptions.
Job’s life demonstrates that good men suffer. That while hardship can be the result of sin or the natural consequences of poor choices, not all trials are punishment for sin. His life shows that God allows our faith to be tested and gives us the opportunity to glorify him in the midst of our suffering.
Job’s story proves that we may never know, this side of heaven, why trials enter our lives. We can know, however, that no difficulty is wasted if we submit our will to God and trust him to work in and through it. Job’s life shows us that we live in a sin-sick, dying world, and we suffer when others’ sin drag their poisonous tentacles across our lives.
Job’s faith is a beacon of light to a dark and hopeless world. His steadfast love and commitment to God flies in the face of Satan’s whispers. When the blessings are stripped away and all Job has left is his relationship with God, he finds that it is enough.
“For I know my Redeemer lives,” he shouts triumphantly, or perhaps he whimpers, “and he shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that
in my flesh I shall see God.”
Paul knew what Job knew, that “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Cor. 4:17)
And he embraced Job’s wisdom and declared,
“. . . we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (v 18).
And he gained comfort and hope.
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).
Is Satan accusing you today? Is he causing you to doubt God’s love and care for you? Is he whispering Job’s wife’s words, “Curse God and die?”
I challenge you, on the basis of God’s character and the love he demonstrated on the cross, trust God.
Don’t let Satan have the victory.
Stand with Job, and Paul, and the great cloud of witnesses that surrounds you, and run the race all the way to the finish line.
Never give up. Never give up. NEVER GIVE UP!
There’s glory that awaits you.
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