Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him. Job 13:15 NKJV
We do not know why bad things happen. We can surmise that it is because the person did something “wrong” and therefore bear the consequence of their sin. That may sometimes be true. However, the story of Job debunks the theory that someone’s suffering is always linked to their actions.
God allowed Satan to have his way with Job – through the destruction of his family, his possessions, and his health. Satan used “friends” to try to convince Job to focus on his own sin and God’s punishment of him for that sin. But they were wrong.
In the process, Job suffered deeply. God waited. Job reached the conclusion that God expected from him. As he addresses his friends who are offering “their” analysis of his suffering, Job says, “Because, even if he killed me, I’d keep on hoping. I’d defend my innocence to the very end. Just wait, this is going to work out for the best – my salvation!” Job 13:15 MSG
In the end, God dealt with Satan, deepened Job’s faith in Him and debunked a widespread notion that suffering is always linked to a person’s sin. God knew that Job was His. He knew Job would not lose faith. Through Job’s pain the rest of us have God’s assurance that even when it does not seem like He is with us, He will never leave us or forsake us.
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deut. 31:8 NIV
So let us remember when supporting others in times of trouble that we do not know what we do not know. Sometimes we are called to listen, pray and not offer advice. Sometimes we are called to listen, pray and offer advice. But it is a rare instance when we have a clear directive from God to tell someone else what “to do” in their situation.
As we walk hand in hand with our Savior, let us remember whose hand we hold. Don’t jump in front of Jesus. When we do, we lose hold of His Hand. Our jump to “manage” another person’s situation may just block that person from seeing the Teacher and experiencing the freedom that comes from trusting Him.