Some Reflections From the Book of Job:
The Problem of False Concepts of Suffering (Part 4)
The final character to appear in the book of Job was God Himself. God spoke out of a windstorm in answer to Job’s problem. In answering Job regarding his suffering, God spoke of His sovereignty and omnipotence as demonstrated in the creation of the earth, the sea, the sun, the underworld, light and darkness, the weather, the heavenly bodies (Job 38:4-38), and the animal kingdom (Job 38:39 – 39:30). God said, in essence, that He was and always would be just and fair to His creatures. God has shown Himself as sovereign, omnipotent, just, loving, and perfectly righteous. Man who has no power over creation, could only find strength and power only in God.
God taught Job about his error in utilizing his human logic and reasoning to understand his suffering. All his attempts to explain God and His actions had failed. While God is just, it was wrong to assume that the fallen world, under the rulership of Satan, was fair. It was only by a personal relationship with God that Job could have meaning and purpose within the injustices of the world. Still, God commended Job, because even in the face of suffering and doubt, he maintained a personal relationship with Him and brought his doubts directly to Him.
A lesson for us is that we have to examine our sufferings in the light of God’s grace. The Book of Job does not support the idea that all suffering is for discipline or that suffering always results from sin and evil. God does discipline, teach, guide, and direct through suffering, but He cannot be forced into a manmade system of blessing and cursing.
The Bible says we all share in the “fellowship of his sufferings” (Philippians 3:10). Jesus Himself has embraced and absorbed the undeserved consequences of all evil. We are companions of His sufferings. Because we are intimately related to Jesus, our suffering is often specifically designed to glorify God in the unseen war with Satan. The devil’s world is unfair and unjust, and even though people may assign blame to God and asked Him about the “whys” of life. Yet, God is gracious to all and receive all who come to Him by faith. Having a personal relationship with God is the only way that we can know His love, comfort, peace and justice.
Rev. Dr Timothy Chong