Is God a cause-and-effect God? Are hard times a result of sin? Are we going to get knocked off our feet as a consequence of what John Lennon called “Instant Karma”?
Even Job’s friends are convinced that Job’s suffering is punishment for sin. Here we have Eliphaz speaking with Job reminding him that affliction doesn’t happen by accident but it is according to the will of God. There is a strong sense of accusation that Job has brought this condition upon himself. He encourages Job to lay his cause before God and speaks of God’s power and control over everything.
Jesus rejects the notion of a cause-and-effect God. We know from John 9:1-3 when Jesus encounters a blind man his disciples asked Him “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?” Jesus replied “Neither this man nor his parents sinned but this happened so the works of God might be displayed in him”.
Asking who to blame isn’t the right response but perhaps “What are you doing here God?”. It is a hopeful response. God is not passive. God is working in and through all things. The experience and testimony of God’s provision through affliction can be of encouragement to others. It is for the glory of God to send help to the helpless and give hope to the hopeless.