Dear Pastor Andy, why does God punish Job, send calamities upon him and cause him to suffer? He was obedient. What’s the moral of the story?
The book of Job is very popular among people who are suffering, for it portrays a man who hadn’t done anything wrong, yet was still stricken with suffering. I think that one of the morals of the story is that there’s not always a direct reason to our suffering. It’s not always because we did something wrong, or like we deserve it (which does a great job at knocking out the health-wealth-prosperity gospel). It’s just because we live in a world where sin exists and bad things happen, even to good people.
Another moral may be that God’s will is so much greater than ours. We can never understand Him, nor figure Him out even to the slightest (though we continue to try). One summer, I served as a hospital Chaplain. On my floor, there were people who were often admitted due to their bodies just running down. They used to explain to me that it’s actually torture for them to sit there in the hospital bed doing nothing – they have to do something. I asked them if maybe the reason that Jesus allowed this to happen to them was so that their bodies would finally get some rest, preventing them from killing themselves with exhaustion? Each time I suggest this, they would think about it briefly and agree that such may in fact be the reason.
Though the Bible does mention God occasionally striking people down with suffering, I’m not sure if its actually God who’s actually causing somebody to suffer, or if He’s just allowing Satan to do it to the extent that He allows. But that’s the point right there: though Satan may be the one attacking us, even when things look dim, God is always in full control.
Finally, I believe that a third moral of the story is that, even in our sufferings, God is always present. Even though we may not feel like He is, God is always present.
Those are my thoughts. Anybody have more suggestions?