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What we thought we knew about God is challenged.

Something to read

The Lord said to Satan, 'Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man who fears God and turns away from evil. He still persists in his integrity, although you incited me against him, to destroy him for no reason.'

- Job 2:3.

Something to think about

Job brings us face to face with a possibility that we would rather avoid. That Satan could do harm to an innocent person is unsurprising. That God allowed that person to lose so much, allowed Satan to ‘destroy him for no reason’, brings into question everything that we thought we knew about God.

What we thought we knew about God is challenged when our financial security is threatened, when we face bereavement or when we face physical or mental anguish. It is also challenged when we see the same things happen to innocent people around the world.

We are affronted because this should not be. It may lead us to abandon our faith in God. Or like Job, we can struggle to hold the terrible tension between the unjust suffering that we see and experience and maintaining faith and hope in God.

Something to do

Spend some time honestly considering how the poverty and suffering you observe in this world makes you feel. Do not shy away from feelings of outrage, anger, fear, despair. Do not shy away from questions about God.

Spend some time considering God’s heart for the poor and suffering.

Do not shy away from the tension.

Pray for insight into God’s heart.

Something to pray

God of the suffering and the poor,

I bring the feelings that arise in me when I experience suffering and when I see suffering.

Give me grace not to shy away. Open your heart to me.


Peter McDowell is a lecturer in Missiology with Practical Theology at Belfast Bible College. Previously he has been a minister in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and worked in Nepal.