Why did God let Job suffer?

The book of Job is probably the oldest book in the Bible and is considered by scholars to be the oldest piece of literature to survive into the present. Some say it is an allegory, but many Biblical scholars note that Job is spoken of in the Ezekiel as a real person like Noah and Daniel, and in the book of James, Job is cited as an example of patience, suggesting a real rather than a fictional character. That’s important, because if Job was a real person, then then the gravity of your question increases significantly.

Job is about how a man’s trust in God is greater than Satan’s ability to tempt him to give it up. God allows Job to endure hardship and loss. And that hardship and loss is well beyond that which most of would endure, but he does not allow Satan to take Job’s life.  

What we observe is life not being fair. Job’s story is an object lesson for all of us.  Life isn’t fair, but God is just. He gives us all equal amounts of grace and mercy to allow us to grow through the circumstances that this unfair life causes us to go through. For Job those circumstances were terrible. Nonetheless, God’s grace and mercy shine through when Job does not turn his back on God. God restores Job’s health and his riches—not because Job was good, but because God is merciful.

Matthew reminds us that God causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:45) God loves all of His creation equally and is not a “respecter of persons.” He knows that we may make bad decisions and suffer as a result. He also knows that we may suffer through no fault of our own. While Satan reigns on earth, evil and death will infect it. However, God’s desire is for every one of us to be saved and live with Him forever at peace, secure in his love for us.

Jesus comforts us through his words:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

The circumstances of this world can get us down sometimes, but take heart and anticipate Christ’s return!

Illustration by Jim Padgett, courtesy of Sweet Publishing, Ft. Worth, TX, and Gospel Light, Ventura, CA. Copyright 1984.), under new license, CC-BY-SA 3.0