Attempting to Understand Evil

      Previously in class we discussed the book of Job. The story of Job has always been really interesting to me, but at the same time is hard for me to understand. In the beginning of the story, Job is described as a blameless man who is rich and has many possessions. He is grateful for God and, no matter what, always follows the way of the LORD. Since God understood this He did not hesitate to make a “deal” with the Adversary to test the faith of Job.

“Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied.  “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” 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.” –Job 1: 8-12

 In Job 1: 8-12 the Adversary confronted God about Job’s faith and claims that the only reason he is such a holy man is because of all the possessions that God has blessed him with. God responds to the divine being in what seems to be a cocky manner and tells him that Job is “perfect” and that no matter what sort of evil or temptation is thrown at him, Job will remain faithful to Him. Risking His reputation, God allows the Adversary to mess with Job to not only prove a point, but to also test how strong Job’s faith is.

As I read this part of the story, I wondered why God would allow evil, temptation, and just overall bad events to be purposely thrown in the path of innocent people such as Job. Is He really just trying to test Job’s faith, or is God only trying to prove a point to Satan to show how powerful He is? It is hard to believe that God would just sit back and allow horrible things happen to Job, especially since he is a good man and has always had strong faith.

“Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in the house of their eldest brother when suddenly a mighty wind came from the wilderness. It struck the four corners of the house so that is collapsed upon the young people and they died.” –Job 1: 18-19.

            This story brings us to the question “why does God allow bad things happen to good people?” Although we will never fully understand or comprehend why God does the things he does, we always try to find a meaning for his actions. It could be blaming Him for all evil in the world or trying to turn the event into a positive situation, but however we look at a tragic event, there is no right way to interpret God’s Action.

When reading the book of Job and how God let the Adversary bring him through all this misery, it reminded me of my friend Lexi. She, like Job, is a good person, has a blessed life, and a strong faith. But recently she found out that she has brain cancer. At such a young age, Lexi has had to undergo two brain surgeries, radiation therapy, chemo treatments, and the stress of loosing her hair. These treatments have been going on for about a year now, and to her it feels like eternity. It’s always a day-to-day struggle with battling this sickness and at times she tells me that it is hard to remain strong, and keep her faith in God when she is going through such a rough patch in her life. She can’t quite understand why it is happening to her.  She wonders why God picked her to go through all this stress, pain, and sadness, just like how Job questioned why God allowed all of the horrible things happen to him.

After reading the book of Job and seeing my friend Lexi go through such struggles with fighting this cancer, I learned that it is difficult to have a strong faith when your worlds feels like its unraveling in front of your eyes. Anyone could say that they have strong faith and trust in God’s plan when everything in their life is going great and just the way that they have planned, and God understands that it’s too easy. I feel like the true test of faith is when your life feels like it is in shambles and nothing seems to be going right. For Job this was when all his possessions and the things he loved the most were taken away from him, and for my friend Lexi it was when she found out she had cancer. The quote that I have grown to become familiar with other the last year explains it best “If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it”. To get through the difficult times in life, we have to rely on God and trust that He will carry us through it. Like shown in the book of Job, it is not easy. There is always going to be temptation and “evil” trying to break us down, but that is how our faith is tested and made stronger. The poem called “Footprints in the Sand”, also demonstrates that through the most difficult times, God is with us…although we may not understand or see that He is there.

“Footprints in the Sand”

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky. In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there were one set of footprints. This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow, or defeat, I could only see one set of footprints.  So I said to the Lord, “You promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there have only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, you have not been there for me?” The Lord replied, “The times when you have seen only one set of footprints, is when I carried you.” – Mary Stevenson

For me and the situations and struggles that I have gone through in my like and have experienced with my friend Lexi, I believe that there is a reason and purpose for God’s action. It makes understanding the evil and bad in the world more bearable to know that there is some greater purpose to why the suffering happens.

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