Suffering: Are there unseen forces and other reasons God allows suffering? Part 1

This is Part 1 of 7 parts answering the question, “Are there unseen forces and other reasons God allows suffering?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” Parts 2-7 will be posted tomorrow and on succeeding days.

Now that we have looked at many of the Divine purposes for suffering in the previous chapter, we need to look under the surface and into the heavens, and examine unseen forces and reasons God allows it. The subject matter was touched upon in Part 2, when we looked at the chapter entitled, “Who is the one who started the suffering that God allows? “  He, Satan, is not only the first rebellious creature but the one who continues to cause much of our suffering today.

I do not blame Satan for ALL the suffering today, but he initiated it in creation and he deceived Eve, which resulted in Adam’s fall and subsequent entrance of suffering into the human race.  We can see from various passages within the Bible that Satan exerts a pervasive power over mankind. And because suffering is a consequence of sin, although not necessarily the personal sin of the individual who suffers. Suffering is a consequence of the entrance of sin into the human race, Satan may be the cause in many cases.

Satan May Cause Much Suffering in the World Today

We’ve already seen the suffering that God allowed Satan to impose on Job,

6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. 7 And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” 8 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” 9 So Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 “Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 “But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” 12 And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. (Job 1:6-12 NKJ)

The passage clearly states that Satan was the one who caused Job’s anguish. With no idea why his children were killed or his business income destroyed, Job was broken. It all seemed like freak accidents of “nature” at least as reported by the messengers. But the unseen reason was there were unseen force moving in heaven. Later, God allowed Satan to escalate the injury to Job when He allowed him to touch Job’s body, but not take his life. Again, there was no visible cause and effect or human explanation of why Job suffered, especially since he was a “blameless man” (Job 1:1),

Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. 2 And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.” 3 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.” 4 So Satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. 5 “But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” 6 And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.” (Job 2:1-6 NKJ)

The gruesomeness and intensity of the pain was so great that Job’s wife encouraged him to curse God. She could see no visible reason for the suffering, but knew that he was in unexplainable agony. She thought that Job’s curse would cause God to strike his life for being blasphemous. She could not see the unseen forces at work. She did not know the unseen reasons. In fact, God never made it clear to Job, but Job continued to trust God by faith, once God rebuked him,

Then Job answered the LORD and said: 2 “I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. 3 You asked, `Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 4 Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, `I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’ 5 “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You. 6 Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:1-6 NKJ)

Why is Satan seeking to cause misery to Job, or man in general? Go back to the first two chapter and you’ll see the story of Job is an example of how Satan operates. We see part of the answer in Satan’s responses to God and accusation that “man acts with wrong or greedy motives to gain blessing.

Part 2 will be posted tomorrow.

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