“The book of Job is the theological elephant in the room of the Prosperity Gospel.”Justin Peters
Recently, we came across a post that was essentially drawing the conclusion that pain and suffering are not a part of God’s plan for your life, but ultimately, Satan’s alone.
Yet, we have to raise the question then…
Isn’t God the one who allowed suffering to happen to Job?
Yes, God is the one who gave Satan the permission, so it was ultimately a part of God’s plan for Job. In fact, it was God who brought Job to Satan’s attention:
“The Lord said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.'”Job 1:8, NASB
And yes, God was faithful to turn it around for him, but Job experienced tremendous pain and loss in his life at the hand of the enemy, yet, God allowed it to happen.
The “double for his trouble” teaching that you hear so often in the prosperity gospel message tries to take the focus off the entire point of the book of Job that reveals to us the beautiful attribute of God’s sovereignty over all things that happen in our world, including pain and suffering. When we try to give more power to Satan than we should, we infer that he “got one passed God” like God was completely unaware it was going to happen.
When a tragic, unexpected death happens, do you shake your fist and proclaim “Not today, Satan! We will make the devil pay!” or do you trust God’s ways are higher than yours and say like our Lord, Jesus, “Not my will, Lord, but Yours be done” and trust that He will use that trial for your good and for His glory?
Absolutely nothing happens a part from God’s sovereign will, not even physical death. He determines when one’s time is up for He is the one who numbers our days (Psalm 139:16).
If God isn’t sovereign over all (including Satan and death and suffering and pain) than God isn’t sovereign at all.
“If there is one maverick molecule in all the universe, then God is not sovereign. And if God is not sovereign, He is not God at all.”R.C. Sproul
Suffering is a reality for everyone on this earth, including believers. To deny that, is to deny reality of the fact that we live in a fallen world and Christians are not exempt from the results of it. Remember, the Apostles suffered greatly and many of them died horrendous deaths as martyrs. But it was all for God’s glory and a part of His sovereign plan for their lives.
James 1:12 shares us a beautiful promise about suffering:
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”NIV
God will use all things to conform us to the image of Christ and often in the life of the believer that includes pain and suffering. In times of suffering, we can pray for God’s mercy to come and cry out for His help in time of trouble, yes, but we must remember Jesus promised that “in this life, there will be trouble” (John 16:33). Yet, we know that He overcame the world for us and we will one day taste of that victory in full when we meet Him face to face!
That is why we must keep our eyes fixed upon the hope of eternity and not on this life. And that is why faith in God is so important because it is the rock on which we stand when trials and the storms of life come because they will. We must remember that our faith in Him means that because of the cross, we are forgiven and now we can have the hope that He never leaves our side and walks with us through the valley and the mountain top experiences and we have the ultimate hope that there is a glorious eternal life that awaits us in Christ Jesus.
That is our anchor…the hope of eternity.
There is a day that awaits believers where all pain and suffering will cease. But until then, we continue to declare “And if not…He is still good” and trust our life in His sovereign hands no matter what comes our way.
12 thoughts on “God’s Sovereignty in Suffering”
Thank you for your great message.
I hope that christians don`t look too much what is happening i this world.
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus!
1 A Psalm of David. Jehovah is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside  still waters. [1) Heb waters of rest ]
3 He restoreth my soul: He guideth me in the paths of righteousness for his names sake.
4 Yea, thou I walk through the valley of  the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me. [1) Or deep darkness (and so elsewhere)]
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou hast anointed my head with oil; My cup runneth over.
6  Surely goodness and lovingkindness shall follow me all the days of my life; And I shall dwell in the house of Jehovah  for ever. [1) Or Only 2) Heb for length of days ]
I fully agree!!! People seem to be forgetting that we need to fix our eyes on what is unseen. Our hope is not in this life, infact we are foreigners here and our present sufferings are achieving an eternal glory for us. Jesus is the name above every other name, including covid 19. God is sovereign. He can change things in an instant but his ways are not our ways and we cannot rely on our own limited, fleshy understanding. Let us continue to seek God in prayer, use this time to study the word and pray for people everywhere. Now more than ever we need to fix our eyes on the God whose purpose ALWAYS prevails. Nothing happens without his permission. At the heart of the fear and doubt is the inability of most people to truly trust God with all of their hearts. Thank you for the wonderful and appropriate use of scripture.
Oh! This Post is so needed and appreciated right now! This last Sunday, I took a bad fall on the sidewalks of West Seattle, hurt my right leg, scraped up my hands and wrists, and cracked a few ribs! I ended up in ER, was given pain meds, and they made me sick! After we got home, I passed out, then came to, and then vomited for 2 hours! I really thought I was going to die! But you know what?! I had peace and calm throughout it all, because…GOD IS SOVEREIGN AND I NOW TRUST IN HIM! And NOT in some “healing or prosperity message’! I am praising God, because this whole messy situation gave opportunity for my husband and I to draw closer! He took time off work to take care of me! He has been at my side every step of the way! My sweetheart has prayed with me, comforted me, held my hand to even go to the bathroom (I’ve been quite dizzy!) and so much more! Truly, God IS Sovereign and all things DO work together for good to those who LOVE God, and are CALLED according to HIS purpose! The LOVE that has grown between my husband and I these past 5 days is more than wonderful! And, a bonus in all this is that his employer told him to “Stay home and take care of your wife as long as you need to!”. We know that GOD have my husband this job! We are so blessed! God is so good!!! Oh, and by the way, although I am still in pain, I know that I am in my Father’s Hands and that no matter what I go through, I will come out stronger in Him. Being conformed to the image of Christ is worth going through any trial. Thank you so much for this timely post!!
Oh my! I’m so sorry you went through all of that, but I am glad you are on the mend! Praise God for taking care of you and working everything out. Yes, we serve a faithful God! -Emily
Thank you, Emily!
How wonderful that God used your fall to draw you and your husband closer. I attempted to subscribe to this blog but it isn’t accepting my email address for some reason.
Wow!!! What a fantastic piece of writing. I wish more people would realise the deception that is so prevalent amongst many preachers today. Have you noticed that they usually take one scripture completely out of context and manage to completely deceive their audiences? I have an auto immune disease, lost my job and just went through a life changing break up and people seem to go on and on about how I can just “claim my healing” and that I clearly do not have enough faith, because my heart hasn’t healed yet… I thank God for the book of Job and the teachings of Paul which remind us that God is sovereign and he has the final authority. I know he will work everything out for my good… In HIS time. Does the possibility exist that I may never be physically healed? Yes, but either way, it will be used to conform me to the image of Christ and God WILL work it out for good. I don’t need to know the details, I just need to trust God and fix my eyes on what is unseen. The bible clearly states that we will participate in Christ’s suffering. I think people are being deceived because they haven’t opened up the word and prayed for revelation, wisdom and insight when they read it. God is not your vending machine. Thanks for having the courage to post this article, in a world in which believers have been corrupted by the lusts of the flesh, it is wonderful to know that there are still people out there who fight for truth! Will definitely be praying for you and sharing this piece. Risha (South Africa :))
Thank you so much! Your encouragement and prayers mean more than you may ever know!
Hi, I’m just replying to your comment about healing. After 39 yrs of IBS going to doctors, which never helped me, test after test and medications.
I believed what His Word said in 1 Peter 2:24 you were healed by His stripes, we’ve already been healed and we have to believe it, it may not happen right away but it has. His Word is truth!
This is a great post and right for these times as more and more souls align with the truth of truths. We all of us must lift our brows and raise ourselves from that which is not and come to see through the false prophets, the heretics and the pharisees. There is no god, but god, for god is ineffable and yet everything and no thing. God is the whisper on the wind that enlivens all souls and guides them on the narrow path towards, the narrow gate. Suffering is the only way that god draws us closer towards him, the fox has it hole, the birds have their nest, yet the son of man has nowhere to lay his head. That is the way of the cross. Amen
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