The Innocent Do Suffer

Job 3-4

Job did not charge the Lord with injustice or with evil but he did lament the day of his birth and wished that he had never been born. He thought, aren’t the dead better off than the living and are not all equal in death. The wicked no longer do harm in death and the suffering are at rest. 

I confess that I have thought this way myself. I do not think that I have ever wished that I had never been born. However, nurses and especially ICU nurses see a great deal of suffering. I have seen suffering that haunts my very heart, mind and soul. People also want to put to death criminals because in death they can no longer do any harm.

Is it true that the dead no longer suffer and the wicked can no longer act wickedly? Is it true that the suffering are better off dead than living? The Christian hope is not death but the resurrection and eternal life in the kingdom of God. 

Job’s friend Eliphaz begins to lay out a case that Job is suffering because he has done some kind of evil. Eliphaz believes, as many eastern religions do, that evil begets evil. That if you see someone suffering it is because they have done something wrong. This is the idea of Karma; that if you do good, you get good but if you do bad, you get bad. The problem is that bad things do happen to good people.

Theologically speaking, there are none righteous, not even one; therefore, we all deserve eternal punishment in hell. We should also keep in mind that those who have come to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are declared righteous by God. Followers of Jesus Christ are righteous in the eyes of God. So, why do followers of Jesus Christ suffer?

The truth is that people who are doing what is right do suffer in this world. Not only do people of eastern religion and philosophy think that people suffer because they have done something wrong but nurses do also. Nurses often use the word un-complient, believing that the disease process is because of un-compliance. This happens often with congestive heart failure patients and diabetic patients who have frequent hospitalizations. Neither of these patients asked for the disease that they have, nor did they do anything different than a great number of persons who do not have these diseases. Things are not equal in this world. Some people suffer a great deal more than other people. Some people live long lives free of disease. Some people live for many years, suffering a chronic illness.

The apostle Paul wrote, (1 Corinthians 15:19) “If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.” Both believer and unbeliever alike suffer unequally in this world. The Christian hope is not to be free of suffering and death in this world but in the world that is to come after the resurrection.