This morning my Bible study was the first two chapters of Job, and I learned something I hadn't seen before- trust.
First of all we need to keep in mind that disasters happen to every one. Later on, we are told that they happen for three reasons: for correction (literally, as a beating rod); for the renewal of the land (as in how the forest is rejuvenated after a fire); and as a means for God to show His mercy.
But Job and his suffering were a special case. Regard: he is described as blameless, upright, fearing God and hating sin, humble for all the great wealth he had, careful to pray for all he had, incuding each as an individual, and involving them in his faith. He not only walked the walk, but evangelized his own family.
But God allowed his sufferings. Satan first told God, it's easy for a man so blessed to have faith. What would happen if you removed those blessings? And God trusted him enough to let that happen. And when God's trust was proved, Satan said possessions are not personal pain. And God allowed that as well, because He trusted Job's faith that much.
God allowed Job to face loss of wealth, unexplainable happenings, overwhelming odds, and natural disasters, one on top of the other. He allowed Job to be tested both physically by disease and emotionally by the turning of his wife against him. Surely it could be said that God allowed the man he trusted the most in all the world to be hit by every ill we can conceive of- and all at once, at that!
And how did he respond? When he lost everything, he replied,
"Naked came I from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return there..." (1:21)
and when his own person, his own heart, was attacked, he said,
"Shall we indeed accept good from God, and not accept adversity?" (2:10)
Point being, there's a reson for everything. So when suffering comes we need to ask, "Did I do something wrong; or is this to change things for the better; or is this to bring me to God for help; or is it a sign that He trusts me?"