IThis is an interesting question and I want to take a quick look at it. I say interesting because it can be asked in at least two different ways with the same but different answers. Usually, this question comes about when we think we are being asked to imitate Job. Of course, no man has ever been asked to endure what Job did and I seriously doubt that any human could save the Lord Jesus Christ. Job, to me, is the ideal man. He represents how humans should view suffering. I see two main points in Job. One, evil produces evil and two, don’t blame God.
When we suffer we must understand that we live in a fallen world. This is not Eden. Suffering was not allowed in Eden because evil was not allowed there. We are temporary residents here on earth. It is much like the wilderness journey of the Israelites. True, theirs was only 40 years but the concept is the same. Why did the children have to suffer these 40 years? They had nothing to do with the rebellion of their parents. The answer is our answer. This is God’s explanation given in Numbers 14:33. “Your sons shall be shepherds for forty years in the wilderness, and they will suffer for your unfaithfulness, until your corpses lie in the wilderness.”
The answer to the children’s question is the same as ours usually is. Consequences. But, we might say, I haven’t done anything wrong. Neither did the children. Suffering is a consequence of a fallen and evil world. Sin was introduced by Adam and Eve and suffering was a result of the sin. Since sin was passed on to all men so was the suffering. Even Jesus, who was without sin could not escape the suffering. Think of Job, no Satan, no suffering.
I said there were two ways to look at the question and I want to focus on the second way. God sent his son to die for me so that I could return to Eden. He knows me. He knows my heart. He sees my sin and rebellion and yet he let his son go to the cross and carry my sins with him. In deed, it was my sins that caused the cross. Instead of focusing on the why me of suffering we should focus on the why me of Jesus.
I like singing the country song, “Why me, Lord.” I’m reminded of a stark reality about myself. “What did I ever do to deserve even one of the pleasures I’ve known?” Not why have I suffered but why have I know joy in a fallen world. Why me, Lord? The answer to this question is the same as for the other, consequences. Joy, paradise regained, is a consequence of the love of God.