I’ve told my daughter, who is 15, that Satan has access to God right now, and has to ask to do things to people…siting the book of Job, where he asked God if he could test him. Is that correct? Then my daughter asked “Why would God ever say yes to him, to allow him to do bad things to people?” That stumps me. Can you help?
Satan does have to ask permission to afflict people, but God’s answer is determined by the state of the person’s life. Ephesians 4:27 says continuing anger can give the devil a foothold in our lives. In 1 Cor. 5:1-5 it’s sexual sin, and Matt. 18:32-34. it’s the refusal to forgive a brother that requires God to give Satan access to us. In Job’s case, it was his self-righteousness. He didn’t think he deserved to be mistreated, not realizing that by justifying himself he was actually condemning God. (These are just examples and are not meant to be a complete list.)
In certain cases, God is required by His own righteousness to withdraw His protection from a believer in sin. His desire is that this will bring the sinner to his or her senses, and cause him or her to seek the forgiveness that brings reconciliation and restores the protection.