Satan must have waltzed out of God's throne room, delighted at his prospects, thinking: “We shall see how faithful Job is by the time I have finished! When he loses his health, when he becomes exhausted and weary from all the agonizing pain, then he will lose control and curse God for being so unfair!”
Indeed, while Job was still grieving the sudden loss of his children and his empire, God allowed Satan to ravage Job's health. In many ways, this is the worst trial a man can face. He can cope with all sorts of losses and failures, given time, but once his health begins to fail, he must devote so much time and effort to finding and maintaining his strength, managing pain, and focusing on life's most basic needs, that many necessary things often fall by the wayside.
Job was in misery. Satan caused him to be covered in painful boils from head to toe, his only relief coming from a shard of pottery he used to scrape the oozing sores (Job 2:7-8). In verse 9, his wife, finding him sitting amidst the ashes of the local garbage dump, scornfully utters: “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!”
Surely, such an outburst would provoke Job's pride to denounce God or even his wife for being unfair. Instead, his reply in verse 10 reveals his humility, self-control, patience, and faith in the face of adversity: “But he said to her, 'You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?' In all this Job did not sin with his lips.” Despite what had to be an overwhelming assault on his emotional, physical, and spiritual state, Job refused to castigate anyone but himself—he abstained from crying out, “Unfair!”
In fact, throughout the account of Job, he maintained his loyalty and reverence toward God. In the face of all that he had to endure, including “help” from three well-meaning but misguided friends, Job remained faithfully steadfast.
Are we like Job, accepting of our lot in life without complaint? What do we do when we are cheated or lose something or even someone we love? How do we react when something we desire passionately is withheld from us? Are we willing to accept God's will graciously? Or do we focus instead on our discontent and how “unfair” life is?
God knows what our individual needs are—physically and spiritually—and He promises to provide them for us (Philippians 4:19). Accordingly, He withholds things that He thinks will not be good for us. Do we accept His decisions, or do we allow the bitter root of discontent to form within our hearts (Hebrews 12:15)? All too often, Satan will feed our minds with such arrogant discontent, knowing that if he can persuade us to see ourselves as victims, he has a chance to devour us (I Peter 5:8).
Geoff Preston (1947-2013)
It's Not Fair!