August 21: “When Life Seems Unfair”

8 Minute Read

Be Still

To the best of your ability, get rid of all distractions. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, to quiet yourself in the Lord’s presence. Then, prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to you in this time and let Him know that you will be listening and will make whatever adjustments He will reveal to you.

Today’s Bible Reading:

Job 1:1–3:26
1 Corinthians 14:1-17
Psalm 37:12-29
Proverbs 21:25-26

Listen to the Lord

Slowly and reflectively read the following verses and listen to what God will say to you through them. Then, consider writing down any insights He reveals to you.

Job 1:8 (NLT): “Then the LORD asked Satan, ‘Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.’”

Reflections from Scripture:

In American Christianity, so many who claim that they are opposed to the “Health & Wealth Gospel” actually believe it. When something good happens to them, they immediately assume that God is blessing them. But, conversely, when something terrible happens, they feel like an injustice has occurred. “God, I’ve been faithfully serving You, and this bad thing has happened to me. Why?! It’s not fair!”

Fortunately, we have the Bible to correct our erroneous thinking. And if God’s Word said nothing else about the subject, the book of Job is sufficient.

The book of Job essentially deals with the topic of suffering in a messed-up world. By the end of chapter 1, we read that Job had lost everything. He went from riches to rags even as he heard that all of his children had died.

If that happened to you or me, we would immediately ask the question: “God, what have I done to deserve this?” That question assumes that God will give only good things to those who faithfully follow Him, and He will always send bad things to those who disobey Him. (In other words, the false beliefs of the “Health & Wealth Gospel.”)

But, all we need to do is read Job 1:8 (and Job 2:3, where God essentially repeats Himself) to see that sin did not bring on Job’s tragedy. It was not because he was out of favor with God. His horrific problems didn’t come because God was angry at him or disappointed in him.

Instead … get this! … God was thoroughly pleased with Job and proud of him even as He allowed the calamity into Job’s life!

Job 1:8 (NLT): “Then the LORD asked Satan, ‘Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil.’” 

Essentially, there was a cosmic battle taking place. Satan wanted to demonstrate that God’s followers were weak and would quickly abandon Him if their life got tough. So God presented Job to Satan as a trophy and as proof that his followers wouldn’t quickly leave Him.

Job’s horrible troubles weren’t because of sin or God’s displeasure. Instead, Job’s troubles actually came about … because God was very pleased with him and proud of him!

Friend, when bad things happen to you, it would be appropriate to do a self-assessment. Ask the Holy Spirit to search your mind and heart to reveal any hidden sins that may have brought on God’s discipline (Psalm 139:23-24; Hebrews 12:5-11). 

But, if there is no known unresolved sin, then don’t continue to assume that the bad thing(s) is evidence of God’s displeasure with you. Job’s example reveals that there will be times when God allows troubles into the life of those who are thoroughly pleasing to Him. 

In those times, don’t waste your energy questioning or being upset at Him. Just focus on passing the test. Keep your eyes on Him, strive for wholehearted obedience, and immediately repent of any shortcoming as you receive the grace and forgiveness to get back up and keep on going.

Spend Time in Prayer

Lord Jesus, help me to realize that while You discipline those You love who are in sin, there are other reasons why life gets hard sometimes. Help me live in such a way, pursuing holiness, that it might be something similar to Job’s circumstances when trouble comes. You simply want to allow me to have a situation in which I can grow in grace and demonstrate my loyalty to You even as the storm around me rages. I pray this in Your Name, Amen.


Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Photo by Shashank Sahay on Unsplash

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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