Today’s reading is drawn from Job 2:1-10.
Job, a blameless, honorable man, loves God and loves his family.
One day the angels come before God’s throne to report to him. Satan is among them. As God talks with Satan, he points out the loyalty of his servant, the virtuous Job. Satan slanders Job, making the accusation that Job honors God only because God has lavishly blessed him. God grants Satan permission to do what he wants with all that Job has.
In one day, Job loses his livestock, his hired hands and his children. Job grieves, but he still worships God.
Once again, Satan comes before God’s throne with the angels, and once again God draws his attention to Job — who still hasn’t cursed him. Satan grumbles that if Job’s health were taken away, he would turn his back on God. God grants Satan permission: He can hurt Job, but he can’t kill him.
Soon Job is covered from head to toe with painful, oozing sores. His wife advises him to curse God. Job refuses. Three of his friends hear about his troubles and come to sit with him. They are stunned by his appearance, and for seven days no one speaks. Then Job breaks the silence, bemoaning the day he was born.
The King’s Heart
“God is good,” Job proclaimed with his life. When Satan came before God’s throne, God highlighted Job’s trust in him. As the cosmic prosecutor who always puts God’s goodness on trial, Satan questioned Job’s motives. “Take away the blessings,” Satan slandered, “and Job will curse the Blesser.”
“God is good.”
“Is he really?”
The cosmic trial was played out on the stage of Job’s life. Satan accused Job of trusting God only when life is good. God was looking for a man who would trust in his goodness even when life obviously isn’t good.
It seems heartless for God to allow Job to suffer. But God put limits on Job’s hardships. Satan could take Job’s wealth, health and children, but he could not take Job’s life. Job’s death would leave no room for restoration or vindication. And the good God who was guiding this mysterious story of suffering would not have that. Job’s story would not end with evil’s victory.
In order for Satan to instigate any hardships in Job’s life, God had to allow it. While the “why” behind suffering is almost always a mystery, there are two realities that are certain: Nothing happens to us that isn’t filtered through the Father’s hand of love. And if God allows hard times in our lives, he is always using them for good. Always.