An issue that humanity has struggled with probably since the beginning of time is: “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Many well intentioned Christians ask this question without realizing that the Bible says: “None is righteous, no, not one;” (Romans 3:10). In fact, Jesus said that “no one is good except God alone” (Mark 10:18).
When we ask why bad things happen to good people, we’re implying that the one who is going through trials did nothing to deserve the bad thing. They were living exactly the way they should and therefore, there is no justification for why life got tough. If we hold to this view, we give humanity far too much credit. All of us struggle with sin … every day.
So, why do bad things happen to folks who are at least striving to live a righteous life? Well, there are a number of reasons: First, we live in a broken, sinful world and bad things just happen. Second, we are sometimes at the mercy of other sinful people who make choices that affect us. Third, we make personal choices that have negative consequences. This list could go on and on.
But, in the book of Job, we see yet another reason. In fact, the book begins by making it clear that Job’s troubles weren’t brought on by any sinful activity he engaged in. Job 1:1 says, “There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.” And yet, his world was about to turn upside down. His children would be killed and all of his possessions destroyed or stolen. The only thing he would have left was his life and a wife who would tell him to curse God and die (Job 2:9). And the Bible makes it clear that it was not brought on by sin.
So, why did this happen? Throughout the book, Job’s “friends” came up with all sorts of reasons for why his life took a turn for the worse. However, they weren’t privy to the conversation that God had with Satan in the first two chapters of the book of Job.
Essentially, the conversation was over how loyal Job was to God. God was proud of Job (see Job 1:8) and held him in high regard. Satan, on the other hand, believed that God’s followers were wimps and would curse Him when life got tough (Job 1:9-11). The challenge began in Job 1:12 when God told Satan: “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.”
Why did Job’s life get tough? Was it because he simply lived in a broken world? Nope. Was it because of his sin or someone else’s sin? Nope. It was a cosmic battle that focused upon whether or not he would remain loyal to his God when life got tough.
Hmmm. I wonder if this sort of ‘back and forth’ with God and Satan still takes place. I wonder if it has happened to you or me. I wonder if we glorified God in the trial or we gave Satan a reason to laugh in victory. I just wonder…