Why do the righteous suffer? A Closer Look at Job

One of the age-old questions is, “Why do the righteous suffer?” Many turn away from God because of suffering in the world, in spite of how much God surely addresses this question in the Bible. One look at Job should give us a glimpse as to acknowledging that the innocent suffer and that God has His reasons.

While we are let in on the reason why Job was put through this test at the beginning of the story, Job had no understanding as to why he was enduring suffering. Such is the experience for many of us—we do not understand why we are going through a specific suffering. We see in Job that this was a test of Job’s character. God wanted to prove to Satan the kind of man that Job was. The bet was on, and, as Matthew Henry put it, “Satan obtains leave to try Job” (biblegateway.com, Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary).

We often endure suffering as a time of testing—will we obey God in this circumstance? Will we still praise Him? Sometimes suffering is for our own good—to mold us and to make us into someone God wants us to be. These are examples of what is commonly called, “divine discontent.”

In the New Testament, the writers encouraged believers to embrace suffering.

Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we count as blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy (James 5:10-11).

In the end, we see that suffering is a matter of being faithful; and this test or trial will result in God’s mercy and blessing.

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