When we think about suffering and tragedy, we often say that God doesn't cause suffering. He allows suffering. That's a big enough thought for the day, but if suffering is a result of free will and God gave us the will to choose Him or not then in a broken world suffering is part and parcel of the right to choose. We can come back to that.
We know the world is broken, dysfunctional, and often "breaks bad" in ways of which we can barely conceive.
So, does Satan cause suffering? Does Satan physically inflict punishment on people? Can we blame tragedies on Satan? I think this is a tough position to defend. Satan is the accuser, the Father of lies. That's his stock and trade. Scripture describes him as that time and time again.
So what if Job, the Biblical account of the man who was tested by Satan, who was allowed to do so by God, is not a story primarily about physical affliction and tragedy? If Satan's only weapon is the lie, and he cannot cause physical tragedy, then the story of Job is about...
What I mean is, when Satan says, "Let me test your servant Job" what if he didn't mean only the physical and tragic stuff? The story tells us that "everything (Job) has is in (Satan's) hands" (1:12), so obviously it's part of the scenario. But it is the Sabeans that kill Job's livestock, not Satan per se. The "fire of God" burned up the sheep, but not Satan per se. The Chaldeans stole his camels, and a wind killed his children. Did Satan cause these things? That line of thinking goes in several different directions.
But what if the real test is the stream of lies and bad advice that followed?
From his wife: "Curse your God and die!"
From his friends: "You must have done something wrong to deserve this. You need to repent."
This is a thought I need to tease out, but what if Satan's test is not what happens to Job in the way of tragedy, but the way he processes and responds to that tragedy and the way he trusts in God beyond the lies surrounding him?
It changes the story a bit, doesn't it? It changes our view of God a bit, doesn't it?
Just a Wednesday musing.