WHY DO WE SUFFER?
Through the ups and downs, I am Yours, God.
Read Job 2:1–13
2 On another day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. 2 And 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.”
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.”
4 “Skin for skin!” Satan replied. “A man will give all he has for his own life. 5 But now stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
6 The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.”
7 So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. 8 Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.
9 His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”
10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.
11 When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. 12 When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. 13 Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhy do Christians suffer?
Sometimes Christians suffer because of sin. Generally, all suffering in this world can be traced back to sin at the fall (Gen. 3). So living in a fallen world hurts us all. But sometimes we hurt ourselves. We suffer because of our own sinful life-choices, like driving at 100 mph and hitting a tree (Psa. 51). Sometimes Christians suffer because God wants to make us more like Christ. This is why we’re to see trials as pure joy, because they make us more godly and mature (Jas. 1:2–4; 1 Pet. 1:7).
But Job is not suffering for these reasons. He is not sinless, but he is blameless before God (Job 1:1–5,8; 2:3; 31:1–40). God’s words for Job—“There is no one on earth like him” (1:8; 2:3)—is a phrase in the Bible that almost always refers to God himself. And Job is already a mature believer.
So why does Job suffer? At the end of it all, he won’t be told. But one thing he will have gained is a deeper knowledge of God (42:5). Sometimes God allows suffering because he wants deeper intimacy with us. He loosens the soil around our roots so that when we have nothing and no one else to cling onto, we have him. We know him more. And we find he is everything to us.
Have you doubted God when you were in trouble? No matter the reason for your struggles, choose to draw closer to God through the tough times today.
“Draw me nearer, Lord, never let me go. Closer to Your heart, draw me nearer, Lord” (Meredith Andrews and Michael Farren).