I took a religion class in college last year, and one of our assignments was to read the book of Job in the Old Testament. Can you help me understand it? I read it through three times, and I never did figure out what Job's answer was to the question of suffering. — K.H.
The Bible says that Job was "blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil" (Job 1:8). God had blessed him with great wealth, and also with a large family.
And yet in spite of his goodness and his devotion to God, God still allowed him to experience almost limitless loss and suffering: His family was destroyed, his wealth was taken from him, and his health was ruined. So terrible was his suffering that at times Job wished he had never been born. In spite of this, however, he never lost his faith and trust in God: "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him" (Job 13:15, KJV).
Why did God allow Job to pass through such suffering? This is the book's central question - and it's the question we ask when we experience loss and suffering. Job's friends suggested various answers, but in the end, the only answer Job discovers is that God is far greater than we are, and He can be trusted to do what is right - even if we don't fully understand. Someday we will understand when we enter into God's presence - but not yet.
But the Bible points us to the One who experienced far more suffering than Job ever did - and that is Jesus Christ. He was without sin, and yet all our sins were placed on Him, and He took the sin and death and Hell that we deserve. Have you thanked Him for this by giving your life to Him?