When suffering doesn’t make sense and God is … ?Posted on Jul 17, 2013 | 16 comments
I recently finished teaching through the book of Job. It’s challenging to study, but I spent seven weeks with this OT hero and each week I was struck by something(s) new. I’ll be sharing a few of those insights over the next three weeks and I’d love your feedback. Like my vlogs, these will be short so I’d love for you to stop by for a quick ponder.
Many things baffle me in the account of Job, and one of them is the interaction Satan had with God. You barely get the “Job chapter 1” page smoothed down when you find this exchange:
God singled out Satan and said, “What have you been up to?”
Satan answered God, “Going here and there, checking things out on earth.”
~Job 1:7 (MSG)
I don’t know about you, but that conversation sounds like something you’d overhear at Starbucks. Not exactly what we’d expect from the Sovereign of the Universe to the prince of the air (Eph 2:2).
As I outlined my first couple of lessons, I recorded some of the terms we use to describe God:
- Protector (Gen 15:1),
- Provider (Gen 22:14),
- Fortress (Ps 18:2),
- Deliverer (Ps 40:17), and
- Strong Tower (Ps 61:3).
But God seemed to be NONE of these in Job 1. In fact, it’s almost as though God drew back His heavenly robe and pushed forward His nearest and dearest:
God said to Satan, “Have you noticed my friend Job?
There’s no one quite like him – honest and true to his word,
totally devoted to God and hating evil.”
~Job 1:8 (MSG)
Yes, our God—our Protector and Defender—offered Job to Satan, and then seemingly stood by and watched as the enemy of our souls completely destroyed this faithful man.
I don’t have words for how not-right that seems.
And yet life is just as not-right. Sometimes it seems that God steps back and leaves us to fend for ourselves.
Of course we know that our omnipresent El Roi will NEVER leave us, but it still feels that way at times. Since His ways are not ours (Isaiah 55), we can only ponder why things happen the way they do. My friend Paul made a great point about how suffering tests our faith:
A young Christian’s faith is based primarily on what he/she is taught.
Suffering takes that collection of ideas about God and
makes their faith solid, real and personal.
God, in His sovereignty, has His own perfect reasons for allowing us to suffer, but I have to wonder if our suffering proves at least a couple of things that we can recognize:
IF we believe what we confess (often debatable), and
THAT God is Who He says He is (eternally trustworthy).
You can find my other posts here: When Suffering Doesn’t Make Sense.