Ever wondered why bad things happen to God’s people?
When you think about this, a name that readily comes to mind in the bible is Job.
The story of Job opens with a strong statement of his credentials. He was faithful; he was upright. He feared God and eschewed evil. He was a man who had great possessions to the point he was tagged ‘the greatest of all the men in the east’.
He wasn’t one who’d allow riches turn him away from God. He was different. He was in a class of his own. God’s verdict about him was that, ‘there is none like him in the earth’.
A Strange Turn of Events
In spite of this enviable status, he experienced a series of calamities, probably unheard of until then.
Marauders carted off his five hundred oxen, three thousand camels and five hundred donkeys.
The raid resulted in the murder of some servants while the others were burnt in an inferno. The same fire consumed his seven thousand sheep. That same day, he lost all his ten children to a building collapse.
Days after, he was afflicted with painful incurable sores all over his body.
Job’s predicament was so grievous his friends could hardly recognize him. They sat down with him seven days and nights and could not utter a word!
With all these, it is not hard to see why his wife told him to curse God and die.
After all, God was supposed to protect them from all that trouble. If not for anything, for Job’s integrity of heart and commitment to Him.
In fact, Job and every other person thought God was the actor wrecking the havoc.
Why Did God Allow Such Misfortune?
But even though He was not the destroyer, He permitted him, giving him limits beyond which he must not operate (Job 1:9-12; Job 2:4-6).
And the question that bothers is, why allow it at all? Why would God allow so much calamity befall His beloved? What did God stand to gain from the entire drama?
Here are two ways to see God’s side of the story:
#1. Pushed to the Wall Yet Steadfast: An Example God Wanted to Display
God wanted to show to the devil (and to everyone else), that it is possible for a man’s devotion to Him to be so unwavering, that regardless of what happens, such would not lose his commitment to Him.
What a way to do so – allowing the reduction of the greatest man around to zilch! Of course, what evidence could be more potent and illustrative of God’s argument!
If the greatest man around (by all standards) was brought to nothing, and his wife and allies were ‘manipulated’ against him yet he kept his faith in God; there remains no more argument for the devil! Neither do we have any alibi.
In doing this, He left us a perpetual example – that we can also stand with God when our entire world is crumbling right before our eyes and we can’t seem to fathom what is happening behind the scene.
#2. An Open Exposure of the Devil’s Folly and Limitations: The Satisfaction of God’s Pleasure
The Devil had always thought that everyone who worshipped God would back out when everything turned sour.
How untrue that is? If only he knew better, he would not have entered the arguement.
God knew better and wanted to satisfy His pleasure by the revelation of His transcendence and wisdom.
God desired to show this reality, not because the devil deserved any attention, but to authenticate his folly and demonstrate the incredible limitation of what he knows.
There was a repeat of this with the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus; further revealing God’s transcendence and how the Devil in all his craftiness will always be no match for God’s wisdom and knowledge.
Proving God Right Before His Enemy:
Job, obviously was not privy to any of these.
And that is what makes God’s enormous confidence in Job all the more interesting.
He challenged His enemy to a contest and gave His man no iota of clue.
But He was right after all.
What a privilege Job had to be the man to prove God right in a debate of powers. When he eventually uncovers what transpired, how glad he will be to know He did not let God down when He depended on him the most.
The devil would have mocked God to scorn had Job fumbled.
But that, is only now, a possibility that would never be.
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Ogaga Eruteya is a Nigerian Christian minister, writer and speaker. He writes on Faith, Personal Development, Youth Development, and Life Realities. With his words, he seeks to inspire, motivate, propagate life’s truths and represent a sincere Christian voice. Learn more about Ogaga here.