Some of the trials we face in this life, we just can’t explain. When we face these trials, it can be hard for our human eyes to see God’s divine and loving hand. But I believe sometimes these trials are a test of our character and strengthen our appreciation of the righteousness and goodness of God.
In Job’s life, Satan afflicted him on many levels with a single motive—to get him to curse God (Job 2:4-5). Satan took away all of his property, killed his children and struck his entire body with painful boils. God knew of Job’s integrity, but when he was faced with these heavy afflictions, Job began to set his heart on reminding God of how good he was (Job 2:3, 3:1-6). He was absolutely sure of his righteousness and didn’t believe he could have deserved the trial he was given. So under this test, he sought to reason with God and his self-righteousness began to lift his heart away from Him.
When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar saw all that happened to Job, they fall into a similar frame of mind and come to the conclusion that he must have done something really bad. They even went as far as questioning and accusing him of committing terrible sins because, in their eyes, that was the only way someone could deserve punishments like these. To them, it was as if God’s goodness could be compared to the measure of a man’s goodness (Job 35:1-16).
At the end of Job’s story, we learn that righteousness and goodness belongs to God. He can test our character through trials, but ultimately our lives all revolve around the glory of God. Lamentations 3:22-26 says, “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning. Great is Your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, ‘Therefore I hope in Him!’ The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”
When we go through severe trials, we need to remember that Satan our adversary is out there—wanting us to curse God. But everything that God does is out of love, and even when we don’t understand why things happen, “Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God” (Job 37:14).
>> Amanda Boyer is a contributer writer. Reprint with permission from Vertical Thought Magazine, published by United Church of God.