Satan said, ‘Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.’
– Job 1:10-11
It came without warning.
One day a dark cloud descended over our home, and the floodgates of hell opened upon our heads. Events unfolded in terrifying succession, crises that I could never have dreamed would have happened to us. We love Jesus. Our home has been consecrated to Christ, and we have tried to serve Him with our whole hearts. We’ve lived through our share of trials and disappointments, but nothing like the onslaught of the last year.
We were instantly filled with panic, and immediately the questions came. What had we done? How could this happen to a family trying to serve God? How had we failed?
The Bible tells us we all stumble in many ways. But in the wake of the disaster, one of our sons and our pastor agreed one possibility seemed most obvious: The hedge was down. God had given Satan permission to test us.
In the book of Job, we read the account of a man hit with a series of tragedies rarely suffered by any one family. In his story, we read important truths for anyone dealing with bewildering loss. One that particularly stands out concerns the source of his suffering.
Job’s trials were not connected to sin in his life.
In John 9:2-3 we learn the disciples of Jesus assumed a man had been born blind because either he or his parents sinned. Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” Jesus healed that man, and it was only then he understood the answer to the “Why?” that had tormented him all his life.
Job was not perfect, but he was “blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.” (Job 1:1) This man reverenced God. He served God with a pure heart and a clean conscience. He even sacrificed offerings for the consecration of his children.
Our problems are often the result of our sin and poor decisions. Even then, God is at work. His response to our sin is not to punish us but to purify and discipline us like the good Father He is.
For Job, it seemed God struck him down without cause.
The Bible tells us trials come upon us for our testing, to strengthen and establish us in the faith.
When we are in the fire, it’s easy to ask God, “Why?” It doesn’t hurt to ask that question and examine our own hearts. If we can find no explanation for the trial, it’s possible another drama is being played out behind the scenes.
Next Week: When the Hedge Comes Down, Part 2