When Life is Unfair
Though he slay me, I will hope in him . . . Job 13:15
Most of my suffering has been self-inflicted, so I’m not well versed in what to say when bad things happen unfairly. If anyone ever suffered in a way that seems unjust (to me) though, it was Job, who endured incredible loss, precisely because he lived such a righteous life. Satan singled Job out for torment, insisting that he would abandon God in his agony.
Job though, never got to know the reason for his suffering, which in the end, may be the greatest lesson of Job. In the book, Job’s friends and family pontificate prodigiously – for more than 30 chapters – insisting that Job must have done something to incur God’s wrath.
Through it all, Job maintained his innocence and his faith. Though he mourned, questioned and objected, he never cursed God and he never wavered in his trust. Job insisted that God is God and that He has the right to give and take. Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.
Still, Job wanted to know why. I will argue my ways to his face (Job 13:15). Job was immensely frustrated that he suffered for no reason and he longed to argue his case before God. He got that chance.
In the final chapters of the book, God answered Job, admonishing him an epic scolding. When Job demanded to know the why, God turned the tables, asking Job who he was to tell God what to do. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the Earth (Job 38:4)?
Job’s protests crumbled under God’s interrogation. I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know (Job 42:3). Faced with God’s omnipotence and omniscience, Job accepted that he didn’t get to demand an answer. Like all giants of the faith, he realized that faith meant trusting God, even in hard times.
We all face suffering in this life – some more than others – and we all die. Life will seem unfair and we are never guaranteed to know why. How and when we die though, is much less important, in the grand scheme of things, than the nature of our relationship with God when we meet Him.
Though Job maintained his faith and though God restored him, the only why Job ever got, was that God is God and that he must hope in Him, no matter what. This is hard, but this is faith.