Why would God allow horrendous miseries upon the righteous? The answer to the problem of suffering in the world is crucial to the human mind. This is one of the reasons why the Churches in Europe after two world wars have become literally empty. There are more atheists or agnostics coming out of the Christian community in Europe than anywhere in the world.
Often we hear three biblical explanations for our suffering: (1) Sins, (2) God testing our faith, and (3) Evil being active in the world. These explanations are biblically correct; however, they are not the whole truth. There is another dimension to this problem, which is beyond our comprehension. God works in mysterious ways to fulfill his good purpose through our life.
In the book of Job, there is a message hidden in the plot of the story. One must notice two realms of scenes. In the earthly realm, Job and his three well meaning friends try to answer the questions of suffering. Their answers are good however, theologically not entirely accurate.
The irony in the story is that none of them have any idea of the heavenly scene that we read in chapter one verses 6-12 and chapter two verses 1-6.
The issue involved in the suffering of Job is much bigger than simple cause and effect suffering. In fact, Satan is taunting God directly with his wrong assumption. He thinks that Job’s relationship with God is merely one of contract. And so God puts his confidence on the loyalty of Job and he wants to correct Satan. He wants to teach him that not all the righteous love God conditionally. Finally, Satan was corrected but Job had to undergo suffering for a noble cause. The real question raised by Satan in this book is why any righteous man would live a righteous life. Would he honor God for nothing? The answer is “Yes.”
The book of Job shows us that there are questions which have no answers on this side of heaven. Yet we are expected to come up successful in all circumstances. We don’t know when God might have accepted the challenge of the Satan on our behalf and vouched our unconditional love for him. We don’t know whom he wants to teach a lesson through our life.
May God be glorified!