Psalm 30:1-5 NIV “ I will exalt you, Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit. Sing the praises of the Lord , you his faithful people; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”
I have been reading in the book of Job, which brings up an investigation of the problem of divine justice, or in other words, why good people sometimes suffer and why the wicked seem to prosper.
We see in the first few chapters a conversation between God and Satan, in which Satan tells God the only reason Job is faithful and blameless is because God had blessed him in all aspects of his life. Satan goes on to tell God that if he were to take away all that Job has, inflicting deep emotional despair and even physical pain, then Job would surely turn away from him.
Fast forward a few chapters when Job had lost everything and began suffering head to toe (literally) with painful sores, Job begins to question God’s reasoning, and repeatedly declares his innocence. Job’s 3 friends, Zophar, Bildad, and Eliphaz, whom he converses with throughout the book, make the assumptions that, since all these bad things have happened to him, he must have sinned. He must be guilty in some aspect of his life, he just won’t admit it.
Thus the topic of dive justice is born. It is normal for us to ask God why and demand answers and resolutions when we are suffering. But as we learn in Job, God will sometimes choose not to disclose the reasons for his doing, or as I’ve experienced many times, you won’t know why things happen until long after they have come and gone.
The verse that stuck out to me most in Job was his turning point, in chapter 19:25, where his despair begins to turn into hope. He searched endlessly within himself, digging into his past and dwelling in the present to figure out where he could have went wrong. When he didn’t find any answers, he held strong to his faith.
Hebrews 11:1 NIV “Faith is confidence in what we hope for, and assurance about what we do not see.”
Though nothing had yet changed for Job, he remembered that God is still God, and one day they would meet face to face. He found comfort in looking to the future, because he believed God would intervene.
Although God never fully disclosed the reasons for Jobs suffering, this book has a happy ending, with job getting affirmation from God and God blessing him with twice over what he had before.
Situations may arise when we don’t understand why bad things are happening, why God seems to have vanished, and our prayers are being ignored. We must remember that God is God and only he knows why, and it is ultimately up to him to give us an explanation for the things we don’t understand. But, God’s glory can be revealed in any circumstance.
Perhaps pains greatest lesson is obedience learned through suffering.
Through the complexities of life we are given an opportunity to trust in God and be apart of his plan, even when we don’t understand. I believe there is a divine purpose in pain, though it may not seem clear.
One thing is always sure, his mercy renews daily. So while we may cry during the night, while we may not be able to grasp the ‘whys’ of life, know that our struggles are not against flesh and blood- but we are in the middle of a constant spiritual warfare; spiritual battles where the enemy attacks our thoughts about God’s truth and our relationship with him, using our frustration with the unknown to separate us from God.
The best way to keep a peaceful spirit through any circumstance, is to fill your mind with God’s truth from his word. The best way to avoid being swayed by darkness, is to walk in his light, and rejoicing in the Joy of each new morning.