“Why does God allow the righteous to suffer?”
That is certainly the question Job raises, but it is worthy to note that he himself never received a direct answer.
There is nowhere in the book that Job learned the reason for his suffering. He was never made aware that God calculates him as righteous. Does God truly make us righteous or does he merely declare us righteous?
Job’s dilemmas begin when God presented him to Satan the devil as a model of excellence of virtue. According to God, “There’s no one like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8). God allowed Satan to distress Job.
Clearly, God was not punishing Job for sin. God himself said that Job is “blameless and upright.” Job suffered because he is the best of men, not because he is the worst.
Suffering is the hardest problem one could ever meet. In Job’s life, he experienced suffering the most awful way. He underwent physical suffering, mental pain and misery, and the sense of being alone.
Satan did all evil actions to distress the mighty believer. Life has gone senseless and crazy for Job. Job’s tragic circumstances challenged and contradicted everything he has always believed about God as an awarder of the good.
While Job’s questions and complaints often come close to charging God with wrong, he never overlapped the line and humbly submitted to God when told that the answers to his questions are beyond his ability to understand. This shows us how the righteous should bear up under suffering.
God’s existence is not in question for Job. He knows that somewhere in the universe God must be alive. Still trusting in God as his Advocate, Job insisted, “I know that my Redeemer lives” (Job 19:25).
The book and the play that we have witnessed have conveyed significant messages. Some of the points revealed are:
•Man is unable to subject the painful experiences of human existence to a meaningful analysis – God’s workings are beyond man’s ability to measure.
• Man simply cannot tie all the “loose ends” of the Lord’s purposes together. We must learn to trust in God, no matter the circumstances.
• Suffering is not always the result of personal sin – The mistaken conclusion drawn by Job’s friends is that suffering is always a consequence of sin. Job proved this is not the case.
• Suffering may be allowed as a compliment to one’s spirituality – God allowed Job to suffer to prove to Satan what kind of man he really was.
• Perhaps God allows these things to happen in order to draw more people to come to a greater good.
• Perhaps God permitted suffering to manifest the eternal glory.
• Perhaps God agrees the test of suffering to build character in the person involved.
We must never think that following God means no trouble or suffering. Suffering is a terrible experience. But God can use the experience of suffering for good. Job’s experiences can explain why righteous people may go through discouraging and traumatic times and be tempted to dislike God for not obviously and quickly intervening on their behalf. Like Job, we can fail to understand that God sees far more than we see.
No matter how difficult a trial is, we should never assume that God isn’t listening or He doesn’t care at all. He sees lessons we need to learn that are beyond our present understanding.