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Why did God allow Satan to harm Job?

The story of Job’s life is one that has puzzled people for a long time. Initially, Job’s initial reaction to his trying experiences was excellent. Job 1:22 says, “Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God.” But, as his burdens wore on him he finally came to accuse God. He said, “ “I cry out to you, but you do not answer me; … You have become cruel to me; With the strength of your hand you oppose me…. when I looked for good, evil came to me; … My heart is in turmoil and cannot rest.” (Job 30:20-27)

God finally answered Job in chapters 38-41. He essentially said, “Job, you do not understand who I am or why I do what I do. If you did, you would know that there is a purpose in everything I do. I have gone to great lengths in creating life. I have provided a place for life to exist. Do not question my motives, just know that I am all powerful.  I am God. Trust that my reasons are pure and good.”

This is an important principle when dealing with God. We should trust that whatever He does is for our ultimate good. Like Job, we tend to be short-sighted in our view of life and why God acts as He does. But God, who is “from everlasting to everlasting,” has a different perspective. Job was a man of faith. But his faith was untested. This is an important principle and was demonstrated even in Jesus’ life. 

Jesus himself had to experience temptation and struggle. The Apostle Paul says that Jesus “learned obedience by the things he suffered”(Hebrews 5:8). Jesus certainly knew how to obey before coming to earth. But his suffering made him stronger and more resilient. It created a deeper faith that was totally unmovable.

A common illustration to describe the strengthening of faith is how steel is hardened.  It is fired under tremendous heat. This carefully supervised process actually fuses the steel at the molecular level. It becomes harder and able to endure great pressures that it could not endure before the process was applied.  That is similar to the testing of faith. When rightly supervised and endured, great lessons are learned regarding how to trust God under adversity. With each victory, the ability to endure becomes greater and the outlook of the individual changes as he goes through experiences where he needs to trust.  This cannot occur without adversity.

Though he was a man of faith, Job was a man of greater faith after his experience. He came to understand that God had not abandoned him and was able to restore his wealth and grant him 10 more children.His life has often been used to illustrate the fall of man. When God permitted Satan to tempt Adam and Eve, God was not being irresponsible. He saw that man needed to be tested. Adam failed the test and plunged the world into sin. Along with Adam, we are learning the consequences of sin. We die because we have inherited sin. Job shared in man’s fall. Like all of us, he was already condemned to death. But that is not the end of God’s plan. It is merely the world’s instructional phase.

God has the power of life. He can raise the dead and has promised to do so in His kingdom. That means that Job’s 20 children will all be brought back to life.  God’s dealing with Job was not done on a whim or a wager with Satan. God’s plan is thought-out and loving.

A very meaningful passage is found in Ephesians 1.

“… So abundant was God’s grace, the grace which He, the possessor of all wisdom and understanding, lavished upon us, when He made known to us the secret of His will. And this is in harmony with God’s merciful purpose for the government of the world when the times are ripe for it – the purpose which He has cherished in His own mind of restoring the whole creation to find its one head in Christ; yea things in heaven and things on earth, to find their one head in him.” Ephesians 1:7-10 

There is wisdom in everything God does. And when we may not understand His actions, we should trust that He will always have our best interests at heart.

To learn more about why God allows suffering in our lives listen to, “Does God Really Want Me To Suffer?”