“Why do bad things happen to good people?” is one of the most interesting, very important and highly unresolved questions in human life. The Bible narrates the story of a good man named Job. He is upright, God-fearing and prosperous. But one fine morning, he loses his children, his livelihood and his possessions. Later, he himself falls dreadfully ill and suddenly becomes a broken, dying man.

Job is unaware that God Himself has permitted Satan to put his virtue to the test and he refuses to blame God for his sufferings. He accepts the situation stoically and does not grumble. Then he goes through different emotions, indulges in self-pity, tries to justify himself, argues out with his friends, and finally challenges God for an explanation. God who has been silent thus far, comes out in the open, as the Bible says out of the whirlwind or a violent storm, and thunders out a barrage of questions, the first one being,

“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you understand.”

God does not refute any of Job’s arguments about the injustice of life. He does not explain the cause of his suffering. Instead, He just orders Job, “Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.”

And He sets before him an endless series of questions. Interestingly, many of them are about clouds, rain, snow and hail.

“Have you entered the storehouses of the snow or seen the storehouses of the hail?

“What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed, or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?

“Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain, and a path for the thunderstorm, to water a land where no man lives, a desert with no one in it, to satisfy a desolate wasteland and make it sprout with grass?

“Does the rain have a father?

“Who fathers the drops of dew?

From whose womb comes the ice?

“Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens when the waters become hard as stone, when the surface of the deep is frozen?

“Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water?

“Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?

“Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?

“Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?

“Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens when the dust becomes hard and the clods of earth stick together?…..”

God’s question paper is tough, out of syllabus, and too lengthy, there are no multiple choices, and Job is just overwhelmed. He cannot answer any of the questions, he can only quit. But God understands. The story of Job ends on a happy note, God makes him prosperous again and gives him twice as much as he had before. He makes the latter part of Job’s life more blessed than the first.

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