Why? - Faith or Fear


In the face of the violence of terrorism, or of terrible injustice, many find themselves asking questions like “Where is God?” or “Why does God allow such things to happen?”

This, of course, is an age-old and very difficult question; a question that leads us into a consideration of the sovereignty of God, the existence of Satan, and the collective sin of the human race.

In the ancient book of Job we read:

One day the members of the heavenly court came to present themselves before the Lord, and the Accuser, Satan, came with them. “Where have you come from?” the Lord asked Satan.

Satan answered the Lord, “I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on.”

Job 1:6-7 (NLT)

This mysterious passage seems to tell us two things: God is the sovereign ruler of all things, and he has allowed Satan limited access to his creation.

God allows Satan to inflict great suffering on Job, including both natural disasters (fire and wind) and violent raids by Sabean and Chaldean raiders (similar to terrorists), but God does not allow Satan to take Job’s life.

God does not explain why he allows Job to suffer; rather, he simply reveals himself to Job and asks Job to trust him. Much of the book of Job deals with a series of conversations between Job and his friends that wrestle with questions about evil and suffering. Job’s faith in the goodness and sovereignty of God are greatly tested, but culminate in this statement:

But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,

and he will stand upon the earth at last.

And after my body has decayed,

yet in my body I will see God!

I will see him for myself.

Yes, I will see him with my own eyes.

I am overwhelmed at the thought!

Job 19:25-27 (NLT)

On the whole, the Bible does not give us a simple and tidy answer to the question of why God allows evil and suffering in the world. We know that in his love for his creation, God granted us the freedom to choose to obey him or to disobey. Evil and suffering, then, can be understood as the result of our misuse of freedom.

But what Job most clearly teaches us is that, in the end, we can trust the goodness and redemptive purpose of God.

Jesus said it this way: “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33, NLT).

From the Book: