Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "All Glory Laud And Honour"1 (Lyrics)
These days, we live in a society that is so litigious — "unreasonably prone to go to law to settle disputes". No matter the cause, whenever anything bad happens to someone, the first thought is often, "Who is to blame for this misfortune? I'm going to sue them!" In today's terms, Job had just cause to sue someone — but who? Let's see what happened.
Job, the wealthiest man in all the land, had lost everything — vast herds of livestock, and all ten of his children. He had every reason to wonder who or what was to blame for his massive misfortune and why it had happened. The book of Job tells us the whole story from beginning to end, and we have the benefit of a bird's eye view of the situation. We know why Job suffered such loss.
Satan, the accuser, came before God along with God's angels. Satan was itching for a fight, so God initiated things by singling out Job as a righteous man, and then allowing Satan to torment him to within a hair's breadth of death.
Job 2:3 – 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. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason." (NIV)
We know that this was a celestial battle going on, but even though God greatly blessed Job in the end by doubly restoring everything to him, God never told him the reason for all that he had to go through. Job never knew that he served as a poster child for why God allows good people to suffer.
In Job's case, it was for cosmic purposes that he never knew about. His well-meaning friends gave Job much misguided advice and got an almighty scolding for their efforts. Job himself plaintively asked, "Why me?" without knowing that there was a much deeper plan in play than he could imagine. God ultimately revealed much about Himself and His ways to Job and his friends, but He never explained to Job that he had been a pawn in a heavenly chess game between God and Satan.
We, too, may wonder why bad things are happening to us, and we may never learn the reason why. It may be in order to strengthen us and our faith, or perhaps to bear witness to others who are watching, or simply to serve God's inscrutable purposes alone. There may be things going on behind the scenes that we'll never know about this side of heaven. It may even be — as was the case with Job — that there is a celestial battle going on for our soul. All that we can do is to trust our loving heavenly Father and leave everything in His hands. Will we come out of our own personal fire of suffering refined as gold like Job was?
Job 23:10b – When he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. (NIV)
Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, when our faith is being tested, may we trust You for both the reason and the outcome of the trial, knowing that You are with us to the end. Amen.