Spirituality and Trials

“What did they do to deserve this?” Whether we verbalize it or not, we often wonder such things when we observe people going through difficult times. But we might be surprised at the real answer! In Job 1:8 the Bible says that the excruciating series of tests that Job went through was initiated by God: “YHWH said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job?'” That statement should cause us to re-evaluate our attitudes towards our own, and others’, suffering.

The scripture makes it clear that Job did not undergo this trial because he was more sinful than others — in fact as we see here, the OPPOSITE was true: God set him forward for Satan to test because “there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.” (:8b)

This sets the spiritual outlook of many of us on its head. When people see others going through trials, they often think they deserved it somehow, and may feel like they have the “moral high ground” and spiritual superiority. But Job gives us a “news flash” here: the person who undergoes a trial may be going through it not because he is spiritually “inferior”, but precisely because he is spiritually MORE ready for the trial, and to glorify God, than others. It is surely not so in every case, of course (and heaven knows, we often do bring plenty of difficulties upon ourselves!) but Job shows us it is true at least some of the time. A person who endures trials is not necessarily less favored by God than those who do not. In fact, as in the case of Job, He may have personally selected them to live out their faith through the fire for His glory.

About Shawn Thomas

My blog, shawnethomas.com, features the text of my sermons, book reviews, family life experiences -- as well as a brief overview of the Lifeway "Explore the Bible" lesson for Southern Baptist Sunday School teachers.
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