Now you too have proved to be of no help; you see something dreadful and are afraid. Job 6:21

The dreadful thing that Job’s friend saw was his suffering, and when they saw the extent of it, they were afraid. If someone as righteous as Job could suffer so severely, then disaster could happen to anyone. Perhaps this was why Job’s friends were so determined to convince Job he had willfully sinned.

There is safety and security in believing that suffering is connected to what we do. If anyone can suffer at any time and we have no control over our circumstances, life is scary. However, if Job’s friends could discover his sin and there was a reason for his calamities then all would be well. They could continue to rely on their erroneous belief that living a righteous life gave you God’s protection. Yet, if a righteous life wasn’t a protection against disaster, then how could they feel safe in the world?

Like Job’s friends, there’re times when we avoid considering the randomness of suffering because it makes us afraid. Seeing someone in deep pain is disturbing and may leave us feeling inadequate. It may also cause us to feel like the world is out of control and we’re afraid that suffering will come into our own lives. If we let our fears dominate us, we will feel overwhelmed and not much help to ourselves or to those in need.

The real comfort in suffering is a strong conviction in the character of God. If we believe that God is good, loving and powerful and we know that he will give us the strength to face whatever happens to us in life, then, there’s no need to fear suffering, either our own or others.