When things go wrong in a person’s life, it’s tempting to assume that it’s because they’ve thought or done something bad.
Like Maria in The Sound of Music, we believe that “nothing comes from nothing”, and that good or bad happens to us because of something right or wrong we did in our past.
Yet, the Bible teaches the opposite.
The Old Testament book of Job shows us that bad things happen to good people, and that believers will go through hard times even though they don’t deserve it.
Job was blameless in God’s sight, yet he endured terrible suffering. Jesus, too, did nothing to deserve pain or suffering, yet he endured the agony of the cross and the humiliation of becoming human.
So, we who trust in Jesus should expect to walk in the footsteps of Job and Jesus, suffering without direct cause and enduring pain without clear reason.
As Christopher Ash summarises so well in his book ‘Job: The Wisdom of the Cross’ (page 174):
Job foreshadows all men and women in Christ, who experience in their own bodies something of the misery of living in a world under judgement, who will know what it is in life to be surrounded by death, and who, because they are in Christ, will suffer not because they are sinners (though they are) but because they are blameless and because in some way their sufferings are a sharing in the sufferings of Christ.
May we be like the Apostle Paul who said with such confidence:
Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. (Colossians 1:24)