A few weeks ago, my wife, Laurin, and I traveled to Georgia, rented a small moving truck, and loaded it up with furniture a friend of ours had refinished for us. As we prepared to leave, I reached into the pocket of my jeans and handed Laurin my car keys, then returned my hand to the same pocket to fish out the key to the truck. But it wasn’t there.
Panicked, we searched the ground all around the truck. I retraced my steps through the house. I even called the fast-food restaurant where we had eaten lunch. But we couldn’t find it; the key seemed to have vanished. After a couple hours of looking, I begrudgingly called the rental company’s 24-hour toll-free number and admitted I’d lost the key. They told me they’d happily send out a locksmith and, even more happily, charge me a small fortune for the service.
Standing there in the driveway beside our immobile truck, I thought about the loss of money and the loss of time we would endure because of the loss of this key, and I shifted into full blame mode. It was the rental company’s fault for handing me just a single key without a keychain, so easy to lose. It was Laurin’s fault for not bringing her own set of car keys, because with the weight of my own keys in my pocket, I never noticed the missing truck key. And it was my own fault for not being more careful.
When something bad happens, we want to get to the bottom of it. Why did this happen? Who caused this? How do we avoid this next time? Our missing key was trivial. We were on the road in a few hours, and the rental company never even charged me for the locksmith. But when we have a true loss in life—our health, a loved one, a marriage—the blame game takes on deeper meaning.
In these early chapters of Job, we get a glimpse into the heavenly realm. We get to witness what Job and his friends did not: that every single calamity in Job’s life was seen and permitted by God. The same is true in our lives. Of course, we must remember that God is never the author of evil (Psalm 5:4), we live in a broken, fallen world (Romans 5:12), and choices have consequences (Proverbs 14:12). But God is sovereign (Job 42:2; Proverbs 16:4). Nothing enters our lives that has not first passed through His hands. As Job himself asked rhetorically, “Should we accept only good from God and not adversity?” (Job 2:10).
The book of Job can be difficult to read, because it doesn’t provide easy answers to the problem of human suffering. In fact, these opening chapters add a new difficulty to work through: God’s role in allowing suffering into our lives.
While God’s sovereign rule over heaven and earth may leave us asking, “Why, Lord?” alongside Job, it is God’s sovereignty that should be our greatest comfort. He has decreed a day when all evil, pain, and suffering will cease (Revelation 21:4). And in moments of despair, He promises to be near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18). Suffering is bigger than any easy answer we can muster. Thankfully, we can bring our suffering to God, who is bigger still. He who did not spare His own Son the suffering of the cross will not leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5; Deuteronomy 31:6).
Written by John Greco