How can we call Jesus our safe Savior when bad things happen to good people? In other words, the Job question — why did God single out Job to satan? This prompted satan to bring an avalanche of calamities on Job just to prove God wrong. And somehow, in light of that story, our feeling of safety in the hand of God teeters on the brink. But why?
Power scares us. Even when we love power, it scares us. We don’t trust people with power. We don’t even trust ourselves with power (and most of us shouldn’t). Since we don’t trust ourselves with power, why would we trust God, Who has infinite power?
An amazing aspect of God’s power is that He gives it away. He gave power to us when He gave Adam the ability to choose, to create and to think and feel apart from Him. This doesn’t negate the Lord’s sovereignty, rather it enhances it.
I think we’ve corrupted the idea of sovereignty into some philosophical ideal. Sovereignty isn’t meticulous control over every detail, but rather the first and last word. Humans write more of the in between words than philosophy leaves room for. In other words, sometimes the Job question can be answered by the sheer fact that humans around us make decisions that effect us negatively. And sometimes we make those decisions ourselves.
But God is still sovereign since He takes the negative circumstances and works them together for good–in amazing ways. If I didn’t have those painful loses, I wouldn’t have the tremendous good He worked together. Does that mean I’m thankful for the loses? Believe me when I tell you, no. I related to Job’s silence all too well (see Job 2:13). But I am thankful for the Lord’s work to bring good out of painful situations.
So in my few years walking with God on this earth, I have learned that Romans 8:28 is the answer to the Job question:
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (NLT)
One other point about this ‘Job question’…
Job trusted God. He trusted the Lord from beginning to end, enough to say:
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him… (Job 13:15a)
And trusted Him enough to yell at Him and expect to be vindicated:
but I will maintain mine own ways before him. (Job 13:15b – KJV)
Job’s vindication didn’t come in the expected form, but he was vindicated none the less (see Job 42).
The Lord is no less our safe Savior when the righteous get hurt. He promised that in the world we will have trouble. But take heart–He has overcome the world. Redemption is far more beautiful than we realize.