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When the Righteous Suffer

  • October 20, 2014 | Job 6

Angelina Atyam’s daughter Charlotte was 14 years old when she and 138 other girls were abducted from their school in northern Uganda by the Lord’s Resistance Army, a notorious insurgent group led by Joseph Kony. Angelina and other parents prayed fervently, and she felt led by Scripture to forgive her enemies—the soldiers who were abusing her daughter. She began a campaign for forgiveness, proclaiming the power of God to enable us to forgive. But her daughter still remained captive, and Angelina wrestled with God: “Lord, are you changing?”

Like Angelina, Job brought his suffering before God and demanded answers. Job’s speeches are breathtaking in their boldness. Job insists on his integrity (27:5). He denounces the emptytheology of his friends: “How can you console me with your nonsense? Nothing is left of your answers but falsehood!” (21:34). Job directs his questions toward God, and after waxing on about his own righteousness he concludes, “I sign now my defense—let the Almighty answer me” (31:35). But God remains silent for seven more chapters.

We know from the very first verse that Job was truly righteous; he does not make an empty boast about his integrity. Why would God unleash this turmoil on him and his family? Why do the children of Christians end up enslaved and tortured while evil men like Joseph Kony roam freely?

One encouraging message from the book of Job is that the people of God are allowed to bring their questions and demands before Him. At the end of the book, God declares that Job’s friends have spoken falsely of Him, but not Job (42:7). And God does ultimately answer Job—perhaps not in the way he expected, but in a way that changed his entire outlook.

Apply the Word

Angelina’s daughter escaped after nearly eight years in captivity. God answered Job out of the storm and then blessed him with more children. We don’t have to be polite in our prayers, and we don’t need to spout Christian clichés. We can go boldly before the throne of God in prayer, even with all our hurt and our questions. God may answer in ways we never imagined.

BY Heather Moffitt, Managing Editor

Heather Moffitt has served as managing editor of Today in the Word since 1999. She loves working with the talented team of writers, editors, and production staff to ensure that insightful devotional studies reach our readers each month. Heather also loves running, whitewater rafting, travel, and singing in a Gospel Choir.

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