In Job 21, I read of Job’s next attempt to defend himself against his three friends. While his friends keep telling him that the sinner suffers and the righteous always prosper. Job argues back that the wicked do prosper, despite sinning.
“Why do the wicked live, reach old age, and grow mighty in power? Their offspring are established in their presence and their descendants before their eyes.” Job 21:7-8 ESV
Job voices a question that sometimes rings in the head of myself and many other believers I am sure. Why does God allow the wicked to prosper? This response from Job tears his friends’ “solution” to the problem of his suffering to pieces. While his friends try to make everything into a black-and-white “those who sin are immediately punished but those who are righteous immediately prosper” case, Job understands that things go deeper than that while still questioning why God allows the wicked to live fulfilling lives.
Then Job answered and said: “Today also my complaint is bitter; my hand is heavy on account of my groaning. Oh, that I knew where I might find him, that I might come even to his seat! I would lay my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments.” Job 22:1-4 ESV
In Job’s next response, he declares that he wishes he could appear before God Himself and bring his problems and pain forward. Job did nothing to deserve his suffering and he wishes he could implore upon God’s justice and ask why he was being punished and not the wicked. I, too, have felt the same. I longing to ask God to bring justice and to help the innocent.
“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me, yet I am not silenced because of the darkness, nor because thick darkness covers my face.” Job 23:10,16-17 ESV
Job ultimately resolves that God knows what is best for his life and that he will continue to trust Him. Job’s faith has gone through a lot due to his sudden misfortune and the arguments of his friends, however, it is still strong and Job refuses to curse God in the midst of his pain.
Dear God, Please give me strength to trust in you like Job. Help me to trust in you through my struggles. In Your Holy Name, Amen.