If you watch the news – or just live for a while – you have probably asked, how can a good and loving and all-powerful God allow such suffering? Where is God, when my world collapses? Why doesn’t God prevent these terrible things – the atrocities that people commit, natural disasters like tsunamis, earthquakes, landslides? Random tragedies like people being under the wrong gumtree when it drops a massive branch?
How can we trust God, in the face of such suffering and such injustice? How can we believe in his goodness and his power?
This week we begin a four week series looking at the Old Testament book of Job (pronounced like ‘stone’, not like ‘odd’). There the barrier between heaven and earth dissolves for a moment, and we can see behind the scenes, into the universe’s engine room. We listen as God discusses suffering and faith with Satan; then back on earth we listen as ‘religious’ people try to explain why Job’s happy, successful life suddenly went completely pear-shaped.
Is Job a very bad person, who deserves to lose his home, livelihood, family and health? Or is God unfair? Is he capricious, playing games with human lives for his own amusement? Is he asleep? Does he not care?
Finally, God who is the same, yesterday, today and forever, gives his answer. Our questions are the same ones that have been asked for thousands of years; the insights in the ancient book of Job don’t answer all our questions, but they provide truths that comfort us today, as they have since ancient times.
- Katie Peken