Q: Why Did God Let Job’s Children Die?

By Adam Lloyd Johnson, Ph.D.

Why is it that God and Satan talk as described in the book of Job? In the book of Job, God let Satan ruin Job. I know that it was a test of Job’s faith, but was God so heartless that it didn’t bother Him to kill off Job’s children for a test of faith? So what if Job had more kids that were more beautiful afterwards? That doesn’t replace the lives lost.

It seems strange to me also that God and Satan still talk. I don’t understand everything about the spiritual world. The book of Job is a good reminder for us that we can’t, nor do we need to, understand everything. See Job 38-41, for example.

It comforts me to know that God is in control; He is even in control of what Satan can or can’t do. In Ezekiel 28:11-19 and Isaiah 14, we learn about Satan’s sin and his fall from heaven. Clearly, his exalted position has been lost, but his ultimate punishment is yet to come (Revelation 20:10).

The question still remains, though, why would God let Job’s children die? Does God not care? Why does He not destroy Satan now? Why did God let my friend’s little boy die in a train accident? Why doesn’t God just do away will all sin, suffering, pain, and death? Again, the lesson Job learned is that our finite minds understand very little. When Job was questioning God, God replied, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding” (Job 38:4). That may seem like a bad answer, but in the end, that is where we have to leave many things. Trust God. He knows what He is doing. He is in control. Rest easy in His love and grace knowing that all things will work together for good to those that love Him (Rom. 8:28).

Still, the feelings remain. They can cause us to lose confidence in God. Our trust in Him falters. This is a real-life human experience. Even the Biblical writers struggled with things like this. Read Psalm 73 and Psalm 77. As the Psalmist does, it helps to remember how good God is. Recount the things He has done. And then when situations arise where it “seems” He doesn’t care or is being “mean,” you can more easily give Him the benefit of the doubt and just trust He knows what’s right even if you don’t understand. As for God not caring about people dying, it’s always helpful for me to re-think through how Jesus handled the death of His friend Lazarus in John 11.

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