God Who Allows
The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man, himself do not lay a finger." Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. Job 1:12
This is one of the harder verses in the Bible to read- where the Lord allows the enemy to test Job as far as he can go, just short of death. We tend to view God as the protector of His people (and He is), the one who sends the power of angels to come and keep us safe (which He does). But we see another side of God in the book of Job. Where He steps aside and allows Satan to do some of the most awful things to a man who has been faithful to God his whole life. And it’s surprising. Where is the God who storms the frontline of battle and saves the day!? We see that Job is just as confused. He sits and questions and cries and curses the day he was born. Why did God let this happen? Was there some secret sin in his life that he was unaware of that brought such misfortune? Did he not pray enough? And with every question he asked, the more he realized something- The Lord is STILL just and kind, even in the middle of and in spite of suffering. Job says that his enemy is still his advocate, and chose to stay faithful while he waited for the Lord to vindicate him.
Job learns that he is safe in the hands of the one who allows his suffering.
He is loved by the one who sees us through the hurt in this world.
He realizes that he can call upon God in his best and worst of days, and the Lord will come close to our hearts.
God promises that over and over again.
When my son was young, one of our biggest struggles as parents was keeping him away from the stairs. He always wanted to climb them, jump off of them, or slide down them, giggling the whole time. As a stay-at-home mom, I felt like my days were spent in constant cycles of chasing, stopping, and redirecting him from doing what was clearly dangerous. My husband could see my frustration and suggested that I let Liam experience the consequences of his actions. To let him feel the danger. And of course, I fought back on this crazy notion, giving many examples of how that could go sideways very quickly.
What if he really hurts himself?
How could we purposefully put him in harm’s way?
It’s OUR job to protect him.
I need him to trust me to keep him safe.
Isn’t that what a good parent does?
So one evening, as Liam crawled his way to the stairs yet again, my husband quietly followed a few steps behind him. Liam was pleasantly surprised and quite excited to see that daddy was not stopping him. He got higher and higher, and as he turned to bask in his victory, he slipped and tumbled. My husband was quick to catch him, but not without letting Liam understand how scary it is to fall. But the whole time Liam was always protected, always watched over, and always in close proximity to his father.
In Jobs' hardest days, his greatest pain, and his deepest heartache, he was never left by God. Not for a single second. Always near, always close, always watched over. The lessons he learned at that time brought a deeper and clearer picture of who God is.
He is a just and sovereign God in a world that is full of suffering.
He is our redeemer, our advocate, and our comfort.
Even when we are tested.
Even in sorrow.
Even when we have done nothing to deserve such hardship.
Like Job, we may not understand the whys. Why a loving God allows the things that He does. Somehow, it is for our good and His glory. Somehow God will strengthen our faith and purify our hearts. Just like He did with Job.
The beautiful Lauren Daigle wrote a song called “Trust in You” that helps me understand the inner dialogue of Job- it says this:
When You don’t move the mountains
I’m needing you to move
When you don’t part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers
As I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust in You.
ARH Staff Writer