6 One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them. 7 The Lord said to Satan, “Where have you come from?”
Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”
8 Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
9 “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. 10 “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.11 But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
12 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.”
Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
We’re all confronted with all kinds of suffering and grief in life. We all suffer in different ways and at different times but in the end suffering is real for all of us. And in those times it’s normal to ask the question ‘why?’
For someone who’s suffering Job 1-2 can be unsettling. Is this a wager between God and Satan over people’s lives? What are we supposed to do with that?
In 1 Peter 1:6-7 Peter talks about finding joy in the midst of suffering. Those who trust in Jesus have a hope beyond this life because Jesus suffered for us; and so our suffering can strengthen that trust in Jesus.
When we look at Job through the lens of Jesus we can see that the picture of God there isn’t of a callous God conducting a wager over someone’s grief. It’s a difficult picture that doesn’t answer the question of why pain was necessary; but sees that what is worst for us isn’t suffering but rather not trusting in God. Over the course of the book the pain which Satan thought would destroy Job’s trust in God is actually used to strengthen and deepen it.
It’s difficult to write something short like this on such a deep question which is so personal to many of us. The Bible’s teaching certainly isn’t meant to lessen grief and pain, or to tell us it shouldn’t be incredibly hard. But it does want us to ask another question beyond the ‘why’ question: Can I trust God in this?
The cross of Jesus shows us that he is trustworthy.
Head: What have you learnt about Jesus? What have you learnt about yourself?
Heart: How do you feel about trusting God in the midst of suffering? What difference does the cross of Jesus make?
Hands: When you face something difficult today, respond by telling God exactly how you feel and asking him to enable you to trust him.
Prayer: Heavenly Father thank you that you are in control and you are good even when things are dark. Please forgive me for not trusting in you in the midst of pain. I pray that Jesus’ death for me will cause me to hope in life with you forever and trust in you in the midst of hard times because of that hope. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
A song to listen to: Rejoice