Why Did God Allow Job to Suffer?

The following article is an excerpt from "A Book of Bible Study"

by Joseph F. Harwood.


To download the book in PDF format, visit our home page at https://www.abookofbiblestudy.net/


As we read the book of Job, we might wonder why God saw fit to put him through all of the suffering and losses that he endured. And we might also wonder what was accomplished by all of the undeserved suffering that God allowed to touch Job’s life.


One answer to these questions can be seen from Romans 9:17, where we learn that God orchestrates events on the earth to display His power, so that His Name will be declared among both angels and men. Another answer can be seen from the message of comfort that Paul gave to us in Romans 8 when he wrote: “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39).


Another question that we may have as we read the book of Job, is what, if any, service did Job render to God through all of the suffering that he endured. The service that Job rendered to God through his sufferings was to demonstrate, to both angels and men, God's power and His unchanging, irrevocable decision to preserve His saints through anything in all of creation that would attempt to separate us from His love. This service that Job rendered to God was so important to Him that the account of Job’s sufferings and his perseverance through these sufferings has been forever preserved in the Scriptures, in order to comfort, instruct, and edify His people.


One has to suspect that God has His “Jobs” in every generation, those believers whose faith is tested with great suffering and loss that comes about through no wrongdoing of their own. If we find ourselves to be among those who experience such things, then let us recognize that it has been given to us, in a measure greater than many others, to drink from the cup and be baptized with the baptism of Christ’s sufferings. And as we have seen from the Scriptures before, God has ordained that such things are necessary for those who will be among the greatest in His kingdom (Mark 10:35-40). 


Job faced his time of trial and started out admirably, but as time went by and his affliction wore on, he eventually became angry with God over the apparent injustice of all that had happened to him. He came to the point where he even accused God of wrongdoing in his case (Job 19:6-7, 27:2). Job could not understand what was going on in his life at the time, or why God had allowed such tragedy to come upon him despite his devotion to Him.


There is no indication given in the Scriptures that the reason Job suffered was ever revealed to him during his lifetime. More than likely he never understood why he suffered the way he did, until he was finally together with the Lord in Heaven.      


As his losses and affliction began to weigh heavily upon him, Job’s faith in the goodness of God did falter, as ours will at times under the weight of our own sufferings. However, our perseverance in the faith is not brought about by our own devotion; rather we are kept by the power of God (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, 1 Peter 1:3-5).


Though our faith may seem to falter at times, and though we may fail miserably when confronted with our own time of trial, God does not fail. And He does not change His mind concerning those whom He calls to faith in His Son: “for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” (Romans 11:29).


When we experience overwhelming misery and grief as our sufferings weigh heavily upon us, and we respond by railing angrily against God because of the troubles and losses that He has allowed to touch our lives, let us remember that nothing in all of creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is ours in Christ Jesus our Lord, not even our own anger toward Him (again, Romans 8:38-39). God our Father, for reasons and purposes of His own, allows trials of various kinds to come into the lives of His people. God will see to it that we persevere through these trials, just as He sustained Job in his sufferings.


Deliverance from our troubles and restoration always comes for believers, and it always comes in God’s time. Whether deliverance from our suffering comes in this life, or on the day that we leave this life and go to be with the Lord forever in Heaven, restoration and abundance is always coming for us as God’s people.


James comforted believers when he wrote: “As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.” (James 5:10-11).


James wrote that those who “endure” are counted as blessed. He also spoke of the “endurance of Job” and “the outcome of the Lord’s dealings” as a result of all that Job had suffered. James also emphasized the great compassion and mercy of our God and Father. Ultimately, as Job’s faith in the goodness of God began to falter under the weight of his suffering, he was made to endure and persevere by God Himself; he was upheld by the power of God. Through the compassion, mercy and power of God, Job was sustained through his trial, and he was ultimately blessed because of all that he had suffered (Job 42:10, 12). 


In God’s time, Job’s trial came to an end, and he was restored and made twice as prosperous as before. God displayed his power among angels and men by sustaining Job through his trial, and then He displayed His power again when He delivered Job out of his trial and restored him. Also in God’s time, the trials that we are facing will come to an end, and we too will be delivered and restored.


For some losses, full restoration and healing will not be realized until we are with the Lord in Heaven. But as James has assured us, “the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful”, and the end intended by our God is one of blessing and abundance. Paul gave us similar encouragement when he revealed that the troubles of our present lives will be made to achieve for us an eternal measure of glory that far exceeds the weight and burden of the troubles themselves (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).


Just as Job could very well have lived out the remainder of his days on earth never fully understanding what God was doing through all that he had suffered, so also the same may be true for many believers. However, the word of God assures us that our present sufferings, as painful as they may be, are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will one day be revealed in us as a result of having endured them (Romans 8:18).


None of the things that happen to us happen by chance. Our God is sovereign over His creation. God has ordained all of the events that touch our lives as they happen to each of us individually (Psalm 139:16). We know from God’s word that it has been given to every believer to share in the sufferings of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the “Man of Sorrows”, who was Himself familiar with suffering and grief (Isaiah 53:3). And we also know that this share in His sufferings will achieve for us a share in His eternal glory (John 12:24-26, Romans 8:17).


When we find ourselves facing hardships that are far beyond our ability to endure, and so much so that we despair even of life itself and having to live on to face these burdens, we will be sustained and delivered, not by our own power or steadfastness, but by the power of God Himself, who raises the dead (2 Corinthians 1:8-11). Just as it happened in the life of Job, we also will be sustained through our trials and ultimately delivered from them by the infinite compassion, mercy and power of God.


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