In Job 21 there is an important question that Job presents that many present when suffering,
“Even when I remember, I am disturbed,
And horror takes hold of my flesh.
7 “Why do the wicked still live,
Continue on, also become very powerful?” -Job 21:6 & 7
The question Job is really asking, “Why am I a man that has been faithful to God suffering while my neighbor who openly mocks God not only is not suffering but seems to be gaining power?”
Many a mother and father who have lost a young child, “why not the wicked? Why my innocent child?”
Many a person who has turned their life over to Jesus only to be tormented by the devil, “Why has my life gotten worse when I’ve given my heart to the Lord? And my friends who think it is foolish for me to live for Jesus live on without Him without harm?”
I understand Job’s thoughts here. I believe they are real and fair questions. And even part of his answer is true,
“They spend their days in prosperity,
And suddenly they go down to Sheol.” -Job 21:13
In this life they may seem to not suffer at all, but in the end they go down to sheol…the grave…destruction.
This is true…
While these questions are understandable and legitimate because it is in our human nature to seek understanding, I believe in suffering it is often times hard for us to be rational. I include me in that sentiment.
I say that for this reason…
I’ve known many people far from Jesus that have lost children and I’ve known many people close to Jesus that have lost children.
I’ve known many people that have been ravaged by cancer who never bowed the knee and I know many people ravaged by cancer that every day ’till they died bowed the knee.
I know many rich people that love Jesus and many poor people that hate Him. I know many rich people that hate Jesus and many poor people that love Him.
I know people that love Jesus in unhappy marriages and people that don’t love Jesus in very happy marriages & vice versa.
What is my point. In suffering we sometimes want to look for the ones that we think should be suffering and aren’t and then we start to think “only the good die young” to quote Billy Joel.
Or ask with angst as Job does,
“How often is the lamp of the wicked put out,
Or does their calamity fall on them?” -Job 21:17
My answer to Job would be just as much if not more than the righteous.
In this world evil has no self control and satan hates all humanity, those with Him and those against Him.
And so suffering is in some ways arbitrary.
The righteous live long lives and die young
The wicked live long lives and die young
The righteous get disease
The wicked get disease
Satan hates all humanity.
Here is the one difference…
The righteous at the end of the day know that there is a better day coming and they know that though “in this world they will have trouble” they take hope in knowing that Jesus “has overcome this world” and we believe Jesus’ words, “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”
And so we do not suffer as the world suffers because we suffer with hope knowing one day it will all be gone and we will live eternally with Jesus.
Whatever befalls me in this life by the grace and the strength of Jesus I will go through because my suffering in this life is temporary and Jesus my best friend is on the other side and I cannot wait to see Him face to face and sin free!
Tomorrow’s Reading: Isaiah 56-61