When we suffer, it is helpful to remember that it may be due to Satan targeting us.
The Book of Job shows us that God does allow Satan to hurt people deliberately. Job was very faithful to God. And Satan went after him. We read: ‘One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. The LORD said to Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the LORD, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it.” Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” The LORD said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger.” Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!” At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head’ (Job 1:6-20).
There are lots of interesting questions raised by this text. For example, ‘Why did God allow Satan to do this?’ But such questions don’t always have easy answers.
But one thing we can be sure of is that knowing something about Satan and his schemes can help us in times of trouble. If you are in a car accident and people are injured including yourself, you can have a greater peace of mind about the pain if you know that someone else is to blame. Similarly, if I know that my suffering is not because of my sin but because of Satan’s sin, then I can rest a little easier.
And thankfully our Lord places limits on Satan’s actions against his people. Jesus even said to Simon Peter: ‘Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail’ (Luke 22:31-32).
So do you recognise Satan’s possible role in your suffering? Does that knowledge comfort you? Joel Radford