Why Is God So Mean?
One of the lessons of Job is: God is the creator. He can do anything he wants with his creation! He destroyed the whole world in a flood. He doesn’t owe us anything. He does not owe us a good life, or success, or riches, or blessing, or anything else! He can do with us what he likes.
Because he is generous and kind and he loves us, he has given us free will to live as we see fit. And we use that will to run around, constructing our little life without him in it at all, as if he doesn’t even exist.
God did not create us so that we could thumb our nose at him and say, “Nyah, nyah, I’ll see you later, when I’m done with my own stuff.” He created us to come back to him. He wants us to serve him, to glorify him, to worship him. He wants us to see him. He wants to give us peace, power, joy, beauty, abundance, and connection. But we thoroughly reject him, every single day that we live for our own desires, our own dreams, our own addictions, we reject him, what he has given to us, and what he offers us still.
God created us so that we could be One with him. But we have used our free will to initiate self-will instead of God's will. God has every right to throw us into the fire. But he does not. Why? Because he is love and love gives grace (chances) and mercy.
Since love must support free will, God cannot use force to get us to return to Him. He uses persuasion instead. He uses:
Truth, as taught to us by His Son and the Holy Spirit
Example, as we see other believers turn and begin the journey back to their Creator
Suffering, although this is God's last resort.
He created a world where suffering could exist in order to persuade us that our choice of non-love will not work. Sometimes he shows us mercy and spares us suffering, but sometimes he allows suffering to occur in order to wake us up to what we are doing to ourselves by following our own will and not God's.
He hardened Pharaoh's heart. Why? Was this fair to Pharaoh? Yes, as the story of Job tells us, what is "fair" is our complete destruction. Anything less than that is a testament to God's mercy. God removed his mercy from Pharaoh so that the Jews could suffer so that God could save them in a miraculous way. A way that will persuade millions of his creatures for thousands of years to come. Only God can know how an event, a mercy given or a mercy taken away, will affect all of his creatures in all of time.
Job, despite his faithfulness, was still a fallen creature. He deserved utter destruction. Any blessing that God gave to Job was from his infinite well of mercy.
Job had absolutely no right to question what God allowed to happen to him. Job is God’s creation, to do with as He sees fit. If God wants to use Job’s suffering to give a lesson to Bible readers for thousands of years to come, that is God’s prerogative.
Our suffering is the same. If God removed all mercy from us, we would be in eternal torment immediately. He allows just enough suffering to persuade us to turn around and change direction.
God’s purposes are always good and always just. He can use us in any way he deems necessary to achieve his ends, which are always good and always just. Who are we to question that??