Why Do Good People Suffer?


“Why Do Good People Suffer?” was preached by Pastor Mike Ray at Hopewell Baptist Church on Sunday evening, 5/29/2022.


Let’s open our Bibles if you would please to the book of Job. The Book of Job. It’s called a poetical book. It’s Job Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. Those five books are called poetical — not that they rhyme, but they’re of a different flow than other parts of the Bible.

I love the Book of Job. Who’s ever read the book of Job when you were going through a trial or a tough time? You ever done that? It will always help you. It will always help you. And so, we’ll look at this.

Job chapter 42: That’s all we’re going to look at tonight — Job 42. And for those of you who are new Christians or are pretty new to the Bible, we will give you a little background to this great book.

Job 42:1–3 “Then Job answered the Lord, and said, 2 I know that thou canst do every thing, And that no thought can be withholden from thee. 3 Who is he that hideth counsel Without knowledge? Therefore have I uttered that I understood not; Things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.”

And so Job ends up saying here at the end of his trial, there were just some things I didn’t know, some things I didn’t know were going on, some things in the background, and I didn’t know what God was doing.

A little of the background just quickly here. The book of Job has got to be the Old Testament picture of Jesus’ sufferings. As you look at Job’s sufferings when satan decides to attack him, Job is the greatest “Christian” of the day. And that’s what God said. He said, there’s no man like him (Job 1:8).

Job chapter 1 gives his background. It said he was an upright man, one who loved God with all of his heart (Job 1:1). He was a married man, he was pro-family, pro-marriage. He had children — had ten children who knew how to have fun because the Bible said they came together in the house of one of the brothers, everyone on his day (Job 1:4). And that “his day” actually means the one day you get for yourself every year, your birthday. So, they celebrated. This family had fun. This family was close-knit.

Job was a hard worker. He was a businessman. He prayed for his children. He said it may be that they have cursed God in their hearts (Job 1:5). So, Job was not just concerned with his kids’ actions; he was concerned with their attitudes. He was one of those that read their faces. He wanted to see their eyes, wanted to see how they reacted to what he was telling them.

And all of a sudden Job gets satan’s attention. Here’s the chess game. He said, “God, if You let me touch everything that he has, I’ll prove he doesn’t love You. He doesn’t love you for Who you are. He loves You for what You’re giving him. Let me take it all away, and I can get him to curse You to Your face.” See, satan’s attack on us has nothing to do with us. It’s all about him hating God, and he wants to try to wreck our lives so that God receives less glory.

So, this is what happens. You know the story, many of you. One day he loses all of his businesses. In chapter one it says, “and only one escaped to tell him” he lost all his businesses. Only one escaped to tell him he lost all his servants. Only one was left alive to tell him all of his kids had been killed. A whirlwind came, and all his kids were killed in the house, all ten of his kids. So, one messenger was left alive in each episode to give him the bad news.

I love the passage where Job says, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (Job 14:15).

He said, “When he bath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10). That’s Job speaking.

His wife has a mental breakdown we believe… and let’s not be too hard on her. She buried ten kids in one day. She snapped. She said, “Does thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die” (Job 2:9). I think she wanted the life insurance money to be honest with you.

And so, the whole book of Job — I hope you’ll read it if you haven’t — he has three friends that show up, By the way, thank God for friends. By the way, Job must have been friendly, or he wouldn’t have had some friends. Three friends email each other: “You off tomorrow? You off? Hey, let’s kind of meet by camelback.” And they all show up at an appointed time. Hey, at least they came! That’s a good thing about these friends: they came. And the Bible says when they saw Job and saw the ten graves and saw his wife probably just shaking in the corner, and they saw the disease satan had put on Job, it says, They lifted up their voices and they wept (Job 2:12). They hadn’t even spoken to him. They just heard the bad news, and now they’re weeping. And it says they sat mute, silent seven days (Job 2:13). That’s a lot of grief. It’s a lot of grief when someone is grieving and they don’t even speak one word for seven days.

Then, finally, they start speaking. Well, they would have done really well if they wouldn’t have opened their mouths. By the way, never miss an opportunity to keep your mouth shut. One by one, they start speaking, trying to figure it out. “You know, if you were really right with the Lord… I mean, nothing like this has ever happened to anybody on Earth. You must have really done something evil.” So now they’re trying to figure out — why did this happen. By the way, don’t do that.

Sometimes you may not know why something has happened, why someone’s ill, why someone lost a Job, why a tragedy happened to someone, why someone’s sick? You don’t know. God knows.

And so they’re trying to figure it out. “Job, you must be a hypocrite. You must be a fake. We don’t think you’re real.” “Hey, Job…” And they’re trying to figure it all out. And he said, “You are miserable comforters.” “Now, why did you guys even come? Now I feel worse after you’ve come.” We need to be the type of friends that when we show up, we help people feel better, not worse.

And so now we come to the conclusion. For 42 chapters, the friends are speaking and Job is speaking. Job says, “I wish I had never been born.” He’s that grieved. He is hurting physically. He’s hurting emotionally. He has lost his children. Now he’s lost his marriage. He is now bankrupt. And he’s sitting in the ashes, or you could say the town dump if you will. Maybe when the house came down, it caught on fire and it burned up, and he is sitting in the ashes of what he had. He’s scraping his sores. He’s got a disease like leprosy. He’s scraping the sores to try to have some type of relief. He’s miserable. He’s in the ashes — that’s all he has left is just ashes of what it used to be, of having the kids, of having his wife’s relationship, of having a business. It’s all just ashes now.

Job 38, 39, 40, and 41, God starts speaking, and God says, “Hey Job, you and your buddies have a lot of questions. A lot of unanswered questions. God says, “Where were you when I spoke and formed the universe?” “Where were you when I designed the ostrich?” “Where were you when I made the elephant?” Where were you when I put the stars in the sky?” And He starts naming them Orion, and Obi-wan Kenobi, and all these other solar systems! He starts naming them. God said, “Where were you when I did this, Job? Y’all are talking a lot. Let me talk a little bit.”

And God starts talking about His greatness. He says, “I’ve designed the snowflakes. Two of them aren’t the same. I made the animals, I made this, and I made this, and I made this. God was saying, “Hey, I just want you to know how great I am.” And what we need to focus on during the time of trials is not how other people view the trial; it’s how God views it. Big God, little trial; little God, big trials. God says, “I’m big. I’m strong. I can handle this. You will get through it. This is not the end.” That’s what God is saying to Job.

But I want to look at the end for just a few moments and just draw out some great, beautiful truths right here. I want to see how it ends.

You know, it’s interesting. Almost every little children’s book ends, “And they lived happily ever after.” I want to find out how they do that. And Job’s story is kind of like that: And he lived happily ever after. Now, his wife doesn’t because she had 90 more months of pregnancy. You ladies who have carried a child and given birth, 90 more months. “Curse God and die? Okay, ten more babies.” Maybe she wished she wouldn’t have said that? I don’t know. I don’t know. Let’s not be too hard on her.

Why do Good People Suffer?

But notice in chapter 42. Let’s look at this. I want to give you some of these things. The theme of the book of Job is “Why do good people suffer?” That’s the theme.

You say, “Pastor, all those parents burying their kids there in Texas this week — why do good people suffer?”

  • Funerals in Buffalo last week. Why do good people suffer?
  • Our military flies all the way to someplace we have never even heard of, and they get killed in some exercise. Why do good people suffer?
  • A little Cessna plane carrying some business people, and it crashes. They don’t know why it crashed. Why do good people suffer?
  • 132 people on that China airline. They think the pilot rammed that thing into the ground, but they’re not quite sure what it was. It was going, and all of a sudden it went down. Why do good people suffer?

We all ask that question. When evil people suffer, we say, “Well, God took care of them.” When good people suffer, we say, “That doesn’t make any sense.” Job was the greatest Christian in his day. Why did he suffer? What was God doing?

I want to say this: if you’re the type of person who God has to explain Himself to you every time he does something, you’re not going to be a happy camper. If your favorite question of God in prayer is “why?”, sometimes He doesn’t explain it.

So here’s Job 42. God has spoken, these people have spoken, and here’s what Job says: “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: But now mine eyes seeth thee” (Job 42:5). Job was a great Christian. He says, I’ve heard all about You, God, but now I see You with my eyes. He said, I’ve heard, but now that I’ve gone through this trial, Lord, I see You, That doesn’t mean God made a spooky appearance, and all of a sudden in Job’s house, he sees God; but he says, I’ve seen You clearer than I ever have before.

You check out people in Scripture who saw God.

  • It was Stephen at a great time of pain. He’s being stoned. He looks up and says, I see Jesus standing at the Father’s right hand.
  • It was the Apostle Paul when he went blind. He’s now blinded on the road to Damascus, and he said, “Lord, who art thou?” And Jesus appeared and spoke to him.
  • It was the three Hebrew young men who were thrown into the fiery furnace, and they said, “We’re not going to bow, we’re not going to bend, and we’re probably not going to burn.” And they threw them into the fiery furnace. There was a fourth One waiting in the fiery furnace, and Nebuchadnezzar said His appearance was as the Son of God. What was it they saw? They saw Jesus in that furnace.

It’s something about seeing more about God during the furnace and the tough times and the trials. You never get a glimpse of Him during the good times. Job said, “I’ve heard about You, but now I see you.”

You say, “Pastor, how do you see God?”

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Hopewell Baptist Church is an Independent Baptist Church in Napa, California pastored by Mike Ray. It is Bible-based with a warm, friendly atmosphere. Hopewell is dedicated to bringing the water of life to the Napa Valley and beyond.



Hopewell Baptist Church and Pastor Mike Ray

Hopewell Baptist Church is an independent Baptist Church located in Napa, California