THINK: "Why do bad things happen to good people?" "Where is God when tragedy strikes?" Though these questions take many forms, they all represent a struggle to reconcile the idea of an all-loving, all-powerful God with all the bad things going on in the world. However, love doesn't necessarily contradict or eliminate suffering, nor does faithfulness to God guarantee freedom from difficulty and pain. In fact, Jesus said to expect trouble in life (John 16:1-4,33). The Bible provides many examples of godly people who suffered significantly for a variety of reasons. Among them are Joseph, King David, the prophet Jeremiah and the apostle Paul. Jesus Christ, of course, endured the ultimate suffering to accomplish the ultimate good, making spiritual salvation available to all (1 Peter 3:18).
RESPOND: What does it mean that Job "was blameless and upright," and what was the foundation of his character? (See 1:1 second note.) How did Job show love and responsibility for his family? (See 1:5 note.) What does this passage reveal about how Satan attacks people's relationships with God? (See 1:6-7 note.) What was the basis for Satan's accusations? (See 1:9 note.) In what way did Satan question Job's motives and God's character? (See 1:9 note, subpoints 1 & 2.) What was the "hedge" Satan perceived around Job and his family (1:10), and how did it get there? (See 1:10 note, subpoints 1 & 2.) What primary questions are dealt with in the book of Job? (See 1:11 note.) After Satan brought disaster on Job, how do we know that God was still in control? (See 1:12 note.) What was extraordinary about Job's response to tragedy? (See 1:20 note.) How do Job's innocent sufferings symbolize Jesus life? (See 2:3 note.) Why did God allow Satan to inflict further pain, and what would God demonstrate through this? (See 2:6 note.) What did Job understand about how God's people would be tested in life? (See 2:10 note.)
PRAY: Ask God to help you develop upright character that honors Him and steers you away from evil. Pray for God's protection and purpose in the life of each of your family members. Pray for the faith and strength to rely on God through times of suffering and tragedy. Give God thanks that He's always in control.
ACT: Do something to show kindness, respect, responsibility or encouragement to your family members. If you've sensed Satan's accusations directed at a particular issue in your life, give that area to God and trust Him to give you peace about it. Also, take time to praise God for who He is, not just for what He's done or what He's given you.
THINK: Did you ever wish you were never born? It's not uncommon for that thought to cross people's minds when they hit rock bottom, they're suffering intensely, or the situation seems hopeless. At times like these, it may seem like God is absent. But He's not. His work and purpose may not be evident in these moments, and He may seem strangely silent, but He's still there-ready to listen to your frustrations, hurts and questions. God can handle them. He may not answer or reveal the reasons immediately, yet He can provide a sense of peace and a stronger faith if you continue to entrust your life to Him. While you may tend to give up on yourself when unexplained pain or tragedy strikes, don't let go of your faith or give up on God. He will ultimately bring you through.
RESPOND: How did Job feel about his life and about death at this point, and what was the focus of his grief? (See 3:1 and 3:13 notes.) Was it wrong for Job to express these emotions to God? Why or why not? (See 3:1 note, subpoint 2.) How would you describe the comments of Job's friends? Were these comments true and accurate? Why or why not? (See 4:1 note.) Why are the responses of Job's friends recorded in the Bible? (See 4:1 note, subpoint 1.) What was the main fault in the friends' views, particularly concerning suffering? (See 4:1 note, subpoint 3.) Which of Eliphaz's observations seem right and which ones seem wrong? In what way was Eliphaz's view of God's justice inaccurate? (See 4:7 note.) How do you think Job felt as he listened to his friend? How can we tell that Eliphaz's dreams were not from God? (See 4:13 note.) Why did Eliphaz assume God was correcting or punishing Job? According to Eliphaz's reasoning, what happens to people who respond correctly to God's correction, and how does the Bible show the error in his thinking? (See 5:17-27 note.)
PRAY: Express to God any frustrations and difficult emotions you're experiencing. Do this honestly, but with a sense of reverence and dependence on God. Give God thanks for the fact that He cares about your struggles and that He can build your faith and bring you closer to Him through these things.
ACT: Call or send a message to someone who is going through a tough time. If he or she wants to talk, listen without looking to offer advice. Simply encourage the person that you're thinking about them and praying for them.