Imagine losing everything, your family, your health, and your wealth. For each of us, there is a good chance that before we die we will lose much that we cherish. Those of us who live long enough will see much of our family die. As the years pass, we will pass our prime, and our health will begin to decline. In spite of our best efforts, when we grow old, we will eventually become less productive. Then we will have more and more difficulty hanging on to whatever wealth we have.
In the Bible we have an example of how we should react to our losses. That is what the Book of Job is about. However, Job did not lose his family, his health, and his wealth to old age. Job lost all he had because God gave Satan permission to take his family, his health, and his wealth from him.
First, God gave Satan permission to kill Job’s children and deprive Job of his wealth (Job 1). How did Job react?
Because Job did not blame God, Satan complained that Job still feared God because Job feared losing his health (Job 2:4-5). So, God gave Satan permission to destroy Job’s health by afflicting him with severe boils from the sole of his foot to the top of his head. Still, even though his wife, also in mourning for her children and for husband’s affliction, encouraged him to do so, Job did not blame God.
Job’s torment did not end. His friends, after they had sat and mourned with Job, insisted that Job must have done something wrong or God would not have permitted him to suffer. Therefore, most of the Book of Job is a debate. When Job’s friends accuse him, Job justifies himself because he does not believe he has done anything wrong.
Fortunately, Job also appealed to God, begged for relief, and God answered. God did not explain Himself to Job, and Job, because God is God, humbly accepted an answer without explanation.
Why did God allow Satan to torment Job? We can only guess. Even the Book of Job, which allows us eavesdrop on the conversation between God and Satan, does not directly explain what motivated God to allow Satan to torment Job.
Why does God allow us to suffer? Many say the Bible does not answer that question, but the Bible most certainly addresses the issue. We just don’t find the answer satisfactory. Like Job, we have to accept the fact that God doesn’t have to tell us everything we want to know.
Why then does God sometimes take from us that which He has given us? There seems to be at least four different reasons.
God wants us to remember that He is God. We live in a universe that is completely beyond our understanding and control. We exist only because God has ordained that we should exist. So, when, God, the Creator, begins speaking to Job (Job 38), He does not answer Job’s questions. Instead, God reminds Job that He is God. That lasts until Job 42. Then Job repents.
God uses our suffering for the benefit of others. In Job 1:12, God gives Satan permission to torment Job. Here is what John Wesley observed about that.
Behold, &c. – It seems strange, that, God should give Satan such a permission as this. But he did it for his own glory, for the honour of Job, for the explanation of providence, and the encouragement of his afflicted people in all ages.http://wesley.nnu.edu/john-wesley/john-wesleys-notes-on-the-bible/notes-on-the-book-of-job/#Chapter+I
Jesus explained this concept. Consider the suffering of a blind man.
Thereafter, Jesus healed the blind man.
God instructs in our suffering. The following Bible passage explains how and why God instructs us.
God wants us to appreciate the value of that which He has given us. Does the Bible say this, that God deprives us of people, places, and things so that we might know their value? Not explicitly, but.this is something we learn from the experience of suffering.
We suffer so that we might learn that slavery to sin is far worse than obeying our Creator. We suffer so that we might not experience the worst loss of all and be separated from the presence of God for all eternity.
Tom, You Stated
“First, God gave Satan permission to kill Job’s children and deprive Job of his wealth”
The Job verses may be comforting to many approaching the end of their time on earth.
Your statement though, brings up the belief that God allows Satan to tempt humans to engage in wickedness.
In my opinion, this conundrum is an intriguing religious mystery that has been pondered by many over time.
Regards and goodwill blogging.
Satan is a creature. Satan is a fallen angel, but like us he is still a creature. If we can tempt each other, because God allows it, then we may be horrified by it because Satan is such a powerful tempter, but we should not be surprised that God allows Satan to tempt us.
Here is the key, however.
As powerful as Satan may be, our Lord still restrains him, and the story of Job demonstrates that.