Summary: But if we believe that it is the Sovereign God who gave good things and bad things – adversity, or whatever trial and difficulty, should we not accept whatever He allows or even causes to happen in our life?
“On another day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. And the LORD said to Satan, ‘Where have you come from?’ Satan answered the LORD, ‘From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.’ 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. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason.’ ‘Skin for skin!’ Satan replied. ‘A man will give all he has for his own life. But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face.’ The LORD said to Satan, ‘Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life.’ So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, ‘Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!’ He replied, ‘You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?’ In all this, Job did not sin in what he said” (Job 2:1-10, NIV).
God gave not only good things, but also trouble, as we read part of Job 42:11, “They comforted and consoled him (Job) over all the trouble the LORD had brought upon him…” God used Satan as His instrument to discipline Job.
We welcome comfort and convenience. We long for favors and whatever pleasant things from God. But we try to avoid trials, problems, or pains. There are even those who think they can eliminate suffering during their present life, so they use whatever resources in trying to realize it.
But if we believe that it is the Sovereign God who gave good things and bad things – adversity, or whatever trial and difficulty, should we not accept whatever He allows or even causes to happen in our life?
Paul wrote, “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him” (Phil. 1:29). Surely, it is God who granted His people the privilege to believe on Christ. He also granted them the experience “to suffer for him.”
We also read in Jonah 1:17, “But the LORD provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.”
We read the first part in New American Standard Version, “And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah…” In the New King James Version, we read: “Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah.”
Perhaps, God had not provided, appointed, or prepared a great fish to swallow us, but He could provide, appoint, or prepare a great problem to “swallow,” or to envelop us!
Consider what happened to Paul.
He related his experience in 2 Corinthians 12:1-7, “I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know-God knows. And I know that this man -- whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows -- was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell. I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say. To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.”
The Updated Edition of New American Standard Bible renders verse 7, “Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, THERE WAS GIVEN ME A THORN IN THE FLESH, A MESSENGER OF SATAN TO TORMENT ME -- to keep me from exalting myself!”
Another example is David. He suffered various trials and pains in his life. And one of them: though he was a king, he endured dishonor and bitter remark (actually, a curse) from his subject.