Sometimes as a pastor, I am asked the penetrating question – “Why do good people have to suffer?” Those who are suffering have asked me why, as well as those who are observing. Though, as the pastor, I am supposed to have all the answers; I don’t. I don’t always know ‘why?’, but I do know ‘Who.’
I’m not sure that Job ever knew why he had to suffer; at least not until he reached heaven. Yet just because we don’t know why, that doesn’t mean that there is not a reason. Scripture teaches us a lot about the question ‘why?’ Let me share with you today one answer.
Job’s affliction was not for punishment, but for proof.
Then the Lord asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.” Satan replied to the Lord, “Yes, but Job has good reason to fear God. You have always put a wall of protection around him and his home and his property. You have made him prosper in everything he does. Look how rich he is! But reach out and take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!” “All right, you may test him,” the Lord said to Satan. (Job 1:8-12)
There is something significant about the word ‘temptation’ as it is found in the Bible. It can mean either:
1) An enticement to sin
2) Or an examination to determine sincerity
In Satan’s mind, Job’s trial was a temptation to cause him to curse God; yet in God’s mind, Job’s trial was to prove Job’s unyielding loyalty.
Many years ago, I read that – “a trial is not a trial unless it makes you want to quit.” Let’s be honest, as we go through many of our trials, the thought sometimes enters our mind to throw up our hands and quit. Where does that thought come from? Does it come from God? Of course not. The book of Job teaches us that such thoughts come from Satan.
I leave you today with these encouraging words found in scripture:
“No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
“Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” James 1:12