Job was a faithful servant of God who experienced so much tragedy that he questioned the meaning of life. Although he never lost faith in God, he did wonder why good people were subject to as much suffering—if not more, than the wicked. In frustration and anger he cast many questions towards his Creator. Some of these questions or statements are the very same we hear today. The following are God’s answers according to his Word.
I wish I wasn’t even born.
What God says: Before you were born, I knew you and put in place a plan for your life (Jeremiah 1:5).
After Job had lost all his wealth, children and even his health, he cursed the day he was born. He could not understand why God would give him so much, and then take it all away. Does life ever make you wish you were never born? We may at times struggle to make sense of what God is doing. In difficult times, our thinking tends to get distorted and we forget what we knew to be true before the adversity arrived. Job forgot that God was infinitely wiser than him. If you have questioned God before (and most of us have), then like Job, you forgot that important truth. He is nowhere near our level of intellect. As far as the stars are from the earth is his thinking above ours (Isaiah 55:9).
God had a plan for Job’s life even before he was born and it was a good one. The Adversary also had his ideas. As strange as it may sound, God’s good plan could not be fulfilled unless these tragedies happened to Job. The book of Job illustrates how God can redeem what seems completely lost. It has been a source of hope for so many, but that would not have been the case if Job’s life was trouble free. There are purposes that can only be fulfilled through pain.
So, did God want Job to suffer? And does he want the same for us? Definitely not! Which good father likes to see his children suffer? I do not think there is any. However, every good father can endure the sight of their child’s adversity if they know it will have a good outcome. Remember, God had to do just that with his beloved son at the Cross.
Why is this life so full of misery?
What God says: The enemy has no other intention but to steal, kill and destroy, I came so that you may have life in its fullness overflowing to ever-lasting life (John 10:10).
It is right to be conscious of the suffering of others, but it is wrong to make it the focus of our lives in such a way that it keeps us unhappy. Job himself had seen a lot of misery prior to his own tragedies but in those days he focused on helping the needy and praying for those whom he could not help. When his troubles came, his perspective changed. And isn’t it like us to notice all that is wrong in the world when we ourselves are unhappy?
Let us go back to how it all started. By listening to the devil and ignoring God’s instruction in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-24), man opened the door to all sorts of evil and the result is the world we live in. Of course Jesus came to redeem us and restore what we lost, but there is still a lot of misery and pain. This is because we still have freewill and most people are taking the wrong path. When we live independent of God’s guidance, the choices we make will hurt both us and people in our lives. God tells us to love and not hate, be selfless not selfish, make peace not war, be patient not impatient, thankful not ungrateful, forgiving not unforgiving. This guidance is designed to keep us from many of the troubles people experience in the modern world. God further gives us access to the power of the Holy Spirit who can enable us have victory over all challenges including sickness and death (Mathew 10:8, John 14:12).
Why do my fears tend to come true and my hopes just fade away?
What God says: Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).
Job said, ’The thing that I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me.’ Fear not God says, and why? The answer is “I am with you.” It is important to note that God never promises that he will keep trouble away from us, just that he will help us overcome it.
So why the emphasis on “Fear not”? Why does God say it so many times in the Bible? The main reason is that fear and faith do not work well together. We need some faith for God to help us and fear damages it. That is why it is a favorite weapon of the Adversary. What we fear continually is likely to manifest because it blocks the faith that would stop it from happening. Remember however that being afraid and living in fear are different. We all get afraid but you can decide not to live in fear. You can keep reminding yourself to trust God. Every time you feel afraid, do some things to build your faith. Eventually the fear will lose its strength and your faith will get stronger.
My life is passing-by and my dreams are shattered.
What God says: My purpose (and promise) for your life cannot lie, If it seems slow, wait for it but it will surely come to pass. (Habakkuk 2:3).
There comes a time in life when all may seem lost. For Job, everything he valued was taken away from him and he assumed his life would come to a miserable end. He wasn’t a young man anymore so he did not expect to recover from his sickness and start his life all over again. If you feel a bit like Job, do not despair. It does not matter how hopeless the situation of your life may be, if you trust God he can turn it around for you.
The challenge though is not letting go of God’s promise in spite of everything you see. We must believe that his promises always manifest (Isaiah 55:11). It is typical of God to move us slowly towards our purpose as he prepares us along the way, and then we ultimately see what he promised beautifully unfolding before us.
So, do not view the passing of time or adversity as a limitation, God is more than able to work it out for your good. In Job’s case, God restored his health, gave him twice as much wealth as he had before and seven sons and three daughters were born to him. He also saw both his grand and great-grand children.