by Stan Smith
"Why, God?" It isn't an uncommon question. It isn't even a wrong question, at least not necessarily. The Psalms have several passages where people ask God why He allows the wicked to advance or why bad things happen. "Why do You stand far away?" (Psalm 10:1). "Why have You forgotten me?" (Psalm 42:9). "Why have You rejected me?" (Psalm 43:2). "Why are You sleeping?" (Psalm 44:23). And on and on. (Do a search for "why" in the Old Testament and you'll find ahost of these types of questions. In a similar vein, the Revelation tells of the martyrs under the altar who ask God, "How long will you wait to avenge our blood?" (Revelation 6:10). Even Jesus asked, "Why have You forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46). "Why, God?" is not always an evil question.
One book of the Bible, however, holds what is likely the highest density of "Why, God?" questions all by itself. That would be the book of Job. To be sure, they're not all "Why, God?" questions, but there are a lot of them. "Why did I not die at birth?" (Job 3:11). "Why is light given to him who is in misery?" (Job 3:20). "Why have I become a burden to you?" (Job 7:20). Finally, of course, Job throws the whole question into God's lap. "Why, if I'm blameless, did all this bad stuff happen to me?"
Did you ever notice what Job gets from God? From Job 38 through Job 41 we get God's response to Job (and his buddies). It is not a small response. "You asked why. Let's talk." And God tells him ... nothing at all. Job doesn't hear, "Yes, Job, you really are a good person" (as Job claimed to be). He doesn't hear, "Yes, Job, it really hurt. I know. There, there, let Me comfort you" (as he hoped). He doesn't hear, "Okay, Job, I'll tell you why I've done all this" (as he demanded). Nothing of the sort. Job got three chapters of a natural history course where God created everything ... "any questions?" He didn't get assurance, comfort, or answers. He got a dressing down the likes of which not too many of us could stand. God told Him, in essence, "This is Me ... who are you???"
In the end, of course, Job stopped asking. He gave the only reasonable response one faced with God could give. "Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer You? I lay my hand on my mouth" (Job 40:4). "I had heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:5-6).
The book ends with Job regaining his lost fortunes and receiving a new family. Many have complained about this. "Yeah, sure, that's helpful, but what about the dead kids??!!" They can complain all they want, but there isn't a hint of complaint from Job (you know, the guy that suffered the losses). Why? It wasn't because God gave him assurance or comfort or even answers. It wasn't because he was satisfied with God's responses. It wasn't that God helped him out or made it clear to him and he saw the wisdom of it. No, Job was satisfied, in essence, because "You are God and I am not" and nothing more needed to be said.
"Why, God?" isn't an evil question necessarily. It can be if it is a challenge to God, but not simply by being asked. But you need to understand two things. First, God is under no obligation to answer. If He does, there is no reason to expect that it will be to your satisfaction. We often hear, "Why would God allow ____?" or the like. Likely as not, He's not telling and we would be wise not to provide an answer when He's not willing to do so. Second, it cannot be the issue. Why God does what He does may be of interest, but never in question. That is, God is enough. His nature is sufficient. His goodness is without question. As Job concluded, "I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted" (Job 42:2). That should be sufficient. Is it possible that God might answer your "why" question? It's possible. (Remember, though, that He didn't even answer Jesus's.) But simply knowing God and His nature should be sufficient, with or without the answer. That is, to those who trust Him.
"Word from Scotland" from
O God. Help Us To Walk In That Path Prepared For UsRead Article »
I'm married with four grown children and (currently) four grandchildren. My wife and I live in sunny Phoenix by choice. I hope to encourage people with my words and to share with others what God has shared with me.
For more writings you can see my blog at birdsoftheair.blogspot.com.
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