We have some good friends who are going through a very hard time right now. Their eight month old daughter was diagnosed with neuroblastoma—cancer—just a few days ago. They have taken her to a children’s hospital about two and a half hours away from home to be tested and treated. They also have two young sons and a business to run at home, so this is practically challenging as well as physically and emotionally challenging.
Sometimes when horrible things happen, our first reaction is to ask why? Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? I don’t have an answer for that, but I can tell you what I learned from Job.
Job was a man that the Bible described as pure and upright. (Job 1:1) He revered God, and kept himself from evil. The kind of man that brings glory to God, and just the kind of man that Satan hates. In Satan’s view, Job only loved and worshipped God because doing so made him wealthy and protected. (Job 1:9-11) So God allowed Satan to take away everything Job had, but Satan was not given permission to harm Job himself. (Job 1:12) Satan took complete advantage of this opportunity, and destroyed everything that Job owned—all of his livestock and his children—all gone within minutes. Job grieved, but he did not curse God. He knew that everything he ever had was a gift from God. (Job1:20-22)
You can be sure that Satan wasn’t willing to give up that easily. He went back to God and said that the only reason Job was still pure and upright is because Job himself was not harmed. So God gave permission to Satan to do what he wanted to Job, but he must spare Job’s life. (Job 2:6) Satan brought terrible affliction on Job, such that his wife thought him a fool, and told him to curse God and die. (Job 2:9) Job would not. He was willing to accept the bad with the good. (Job 2:10)
Throughout the book of Job, Job’s friends came and gave him advice about why this had happened to him and what he should do about it, but take note, our friends are not always right. Much time passes, in which Job and his friends try to make sense of it all, but without success. In Job 38, God begins to speak to Job. He asks where Job was when the world was made and who was in command of creation. (Job 38:4-13) God’s discourse continues and points out that essentially God is God and we are not. We are in no position to question Him on His reasons for what we are going through, because His ways are beyond our understanding. (Isaiah 55:9)
Our trials may or may not be for the purpose of testing us in the way Job was tested. Perhaps, instead, they are to remind us to trust God and to look to Him for strength. (Philippians 4:13) Perhaps they are to prepare us to be a guide to someone who will walk the journey behind us. Perhaps they will allow us to comfort others who are going through the same thing. (II Corinthians 1:4) Be sure of this though: Satan is the author of all that is evil in the world, not God. God gives him some leeway, but God has the final say, and He loves us and wants only the best for us. (John 3:16, Matthew 7:11) If we put our hope and trust in God, He will give us the strength we need to get through it, no matter what the circumstance.
Please take a moment to pray for this dear family.