It is reasonable to expect God’s ways to feel rational to the human emotions and make logical sense to the human mind, since we are made in His image. God’s ways surely are more comprehensible than incomprehensible. Questions often dismissed as unanswerable may be answerable. This viewpoint may empower us to reach more effectively those who seek to know our God better. All we can do is strive to the best of our ability to understand what God’s inspired writers of the Older and New Testament recorded for their readers and future generations.
Job seems to get a tongue slashing in Chapter 38. Why was God being so tough on a man described as “blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil (1:8).” We want to be careful making too many parallels from Job’s story in our own lives. We should not assume all suffering from evil is some cosmic play between God and Satan. The book of Job does seem to clearly teach to avoid a common assumption when encountering evil. Friends of Job assumed he had some sin in his life that Job needed to repent of in order to avoid further punishment by God. Always blaming evil or pain and suffering on individual sin is misguided. Lack of physical or materials blessings is not evidence of lack of God’s love as maybe Job begin to feel.
Did God gave Job a tongue lashing because he attempted to understand God and His ways or because Job assumed God only loves you if He doesn’t allow suffering to invade one’s life? [i.e. daily petal Christianity] It is true no evil has free rein unless allowed by God. But, if we demand God punish immorality instantly or not even allow freedom, are we not judging Him as to how to deal with a world free to love or rebel against Him? Is this where Job strayed when God became annoyed with him? Do we humans actually know better to run a world given freedom to follow or rebel against their Creator?
We should not assume that God responds to evil in the same ways we might. Job was not accusing God of being responsible for evil, but Job eventually wore down and maybe questioned if God cared since God didn’t stop the suffering in his life. Least we be too judgmental of Job, remember he did not have the vantage point readers do about the cosmic warfare between the Creator and the Evil One. In the midst of suffering it can help to understand that God cares and has not lost control. Maybe Job, as we might, began to assume God didn’t care when all his problems were not being wiped away.
Misguided freedom, whether diabolical or human, does not create a fair world for God or humans. Most of suffering results from personal or natural evil. Freedom gone awry has cause progressive deterioration both of human nature and the physical world. God allows suffering because genuine love can only emerge when one is free to reject it. God by nature is a merciful and forgiving God. The alternative is instant judgment without mercy or forgiveness. We sometimes demand instant justice for all accept ourselves. God did not opt out of suffering Himself. We will not always know why God does or doesn’t interfere. We must ultimately accept as Job that God is more capable of running the universe where freedom is allowed than us. Suffering had to become part of God’s story if He was to allow freedom. God’s ways may not always be our ways, thankfully. Maybe God doesn’t interfere with evil because of His Character!