A rough job
Read Job 1:1. Here we have Job (Pronounced Jobe). A man who lived in Uz. He was blameless, and upright, he feared God, and shunned evil. He believed in God, he followed Yahweh, and he rejected evil. He shunned it. Job was great in the eyes of God. He thought that he was pretty sick.
Then it all gets interesting. Read on, Job 1:6-12.
We enter into a conversation here between God and Satan. We get the inside track on how Satan acts. God asks Satan where he has come from and ‘Satan answers the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”’ In response to this, God said, 'have you considered my servant Job?'
This is fascinating, because we’ve just learnt that that is how Satan acts. He roams the earth, considering people to play with. To pounce on. He goes back and forth seeing out whom he can attack.
God hands Job over, God offers him to Satan in verse 8. Satan responds and basically says, ‘But you have given him everything, of course he is good, you have blessed him with everything he has! If you actually took it all away, he would curse you to your face.’ Well God says "try him” and that’s where the book of Job flies. God hands Job over to Satan, and Satan seriously messes with Job. He makes that man’s life truly horrendous. Jobs friends get involved and blame God. He loses everything, they all argue, but Job never blames God. He questions God, but he never curses Him.
At the end, Job gets everything back, not forgetting what’s happened, but he gets back more that what he lost through these trials.
So why was God so unfair to Job? The answer is in the question. God was not unfair. Because although Job believed, and was a man of good standing with God, no one is without sin. Job was still human, and part of the human condition is that we have fallen from God. The reality of being sinful is that we get crap thrown at us from Satan. Choosing to sin, as we all have, means we have chosen everything other than God. Some people seemingly have worse stuff than others, Job’s worse than most, but God is not unfair. All who sin, get the results of sin, and we as humanity and society put a measure on some being worse than others, but in this earth, we all suffer, because we all have turned from God (Romans 3:10-12).
Further to this reality, those who are saved through the cross of Christ, those who have moved teams from Satan to Jesus, those who are righteous through Jesus’ blood have many promises given to them that they will specifically suffer, because they are special, and Satan hates them all the more. Read James 1:2-4 and John 15:18-19. Christians will be persecuted because of their faith. A good book to read is The Screwtape letters by C.S. Lewis for a look at how Satan might work against humans.
The attack is normal, and we can stay trusting in God as Job did. So why did God allow this to happen? Because even when we believe in Jesus, God is perfect, and we are not yet. He is sovereign, dominant, in charge, supreme, he is perfection, and nothing else is. Job was not, and nor are we. Why did God allow suffering to happen? Because Job, like the rest of humanity is fully vulnerable to the effects of sin, and will be until the Lord returns and wipes every tear from our eyes.
The book of Job is not in the Bible because Job was special or different, but because he is exactly the same as every other believer. Satan roams the earth, looking for people to muck with. Trust, and learn from Job. God stays constant when everything goes wrong, but one day, all shall be well. As it was with Job, so it is with us.