For 34 chapters, beginning with chapter 4, Job undergoes another form of suffering. He is accused of having brought the suffering on himself through some unknown sin.

First, he lost all possessions. He lost all his children. He lost his health. The wife of his youth, the mother of his children, sharing in the suffering in many ways, unwittingly adds to Job’s suffering by suggesting he end it all. Now, he’s greeted by three friends who blame him for his situation with harsh, critical, negative words. Suffering to them, is always the result of some sin. The greater the suffering, the greater the sin must have been. Thus Job, in contrast to God’s commendation of Job as upright and blameless, he is addressed as the worst sinner imaginable.

Billy Graham suggests that there are at least six different reasons that people may be suffering.  First, there are times when we bring suffering upon ourselves.  This is the simple law of sewing and reaping.  Second, Sometimes God is taking corrective action because of sin and disobedience. God will correct and discipline His own.  Third, God may permit suffering so we learn to respond to problems in a biblical way. Scripture tells us that Jesus “learned obedience from what he suffered.” Fourth, Sometimes God permits us to suffer to teach us that pain is a part of life. Everyone suffers! Everyone dies. Nowhere does the Bible say that the Christian will not suffer adversity!  Fifth, God may permit suffering for our well-being. Only through adversity are some of the deeper lessons of life learned. The sixth reason for suffering is probably one of the best with respect to Job’s situation. Billy suggests, “Sometimes God permits suffering to speak through our life and testimony to comfort others.”  The world has been reading about Job for thousands of years. We all struggle with inexplicable suffering in our lives as well as the lives of those around us. Job’s story has been a great comfort and encouragement to every generation.

James gives us another reason. Why does God allow suffering? He does so in order to reveal through it all his love, compassion, and mercy on everyone in the end. James focuses on the end, not the beginning, or the middle and tells us that God will ultimate deal with all suffering once and for all because of his Love. He writes, “You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.”

The issue isn’t a rational explanation for suffering. The issue is trusting God’s goodness in the midst of suffering. May we all learn to say through it all, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away! Blessed be the name of the Lord!”


“Job was blameless—a man of complete integrity. He feared God and stayed away from evil.” Job 1:1