One of Elihu’s major points is that God never gives up on man. Pain, he argues, is one of the many ways in which God attempts to get man’s attention. Speaking of the various pains and sufferings of life, Elihu says, “Behold, God works all these things, Twice, in fact, three times with a man (v. 29). McKenna says, “The text would not be violated to extend the times that God speaks to man to ‘seventy times seven’ and on ad infinitum.” Just as Jesus instructs us in our responsibility to forgive others 70 × 7 times, it is in keeping with God’s work in our lives. Elihu goes God’s purpose for suffering is preventative and redemptive. Elihu says God allows suffering in order to, “Bring back his soul from the Pit, that he may be enlightened with the light of life.”

I often fall for the old tempter’s schemes. He uses hardship and suffering in ways that he might get us to curse God. He wants us to think that pain in our life is evidence of God’s ill intent towards us. He wants us to forget the truth that God always has our best interest foremost in mind regardless of our circumstances. Satan’s goal is for pain to cause us to mistrust God. Our pain, however, is actually evidence of God’s love. Paul reminds us in Romans 2:4 that God “has been very kind and patient, waiting for you to change, but you think nothing of his kindness. Perhaps you do not understand that God is kind to you so you will change your hearts and lives.”

The Psalmist was so convinced of God’s positive intentions towards us in all our suffering that he wrote a song about it. It’s in Psalm 103. He sings, “For his unfailing love…is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The Lord is like a father to his children,
Tender and compassionate… He knows of what we are made and never forgets that we are but dust.”

“I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.” (Job 42:5)