"give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
1 Thes. 5:18
I think about Job often.
His story hits home a little more now that I'm married with a family. This good, faith-filled man watched as his entire life crumble down around him as he lost his wealth, health, and everyone he loved. I've learned so much through the questions that Job asked God during the darkest times in his life but I've learned even more from the questions that God responded with.
When Job asks: "Why is this happening to me"
God responds with: “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. Do you know how its dimensions were determined and who did the surveying?” God asks. “What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone, as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?7 Have you ever once commanded the morning to appear, and caused the dawn to rise in the east? Have you ever told the daylight to spread to the ends of the earth, to end the night’s wickedness?8 Has the location of the gates of Death been revealed to you? Do you realize the extent of the earth? Tell me about it if you know! Where does the light come from, and how do you get there? Or tell me about the darkness. Where does it come from? Can you find its boundaries, or go to its source? But of course you know all this! For you were born before it was all created, and you are so very experienced!"
God’s questions aren’t intended to teach; they are intended to stun. They aren’t intended to stir the mind; they are intended to bend the knees. I always thought that God sounded cold and borderline cruel in his responses to Job. After all, Job just suffered so much hurt, his questions to God seem justified. It was only until I re-read this passage recently that I understood God's response. God owes no one anything. No explanations. No excuses. No help. God has no debt, no outstanding balance, no favors to return. God owes no man anything.
That makes the fact that he gave us everything even more astounding!!
Max Lucado explains it beautifully when he said,
"You can interpret God’s hammering speech as a divine “in-your-face” tirade if you want. You can use the list of unanswerable questions to prove that God is harsh, cruel, and distant. You can use the Book of Job as evidence that God gives us questions and no answers. But to do so, you need some scissors. To do so, you need to cut out the rest of the book of Job. If Job ever wonders why God doesn’t bring back the children he had taken away, he doesn’t ask. Maybe he doesn’t ask because he knows that his children could never be happier than they are in the presence of this One he has seen so briefly. Something tells me that Job would do it all again, if that’s what it took to hear God’s voice and stand in the Presence. Even if God left him with his bedsores and bills, Job would do it again."
It amazes me that even though God regarded Job as a "perfect and upright man", he still allowed Job to suffer so much pain and hurt. This is an amazing example of how even the most "holy" aren't above trials and pain. God may not bring suffering into our lives, but he can make good use of it, and in our suffering we have to trust that the Creator of the entire world knows what he's doing. We are reminded of Gods greatness through Gods responses to Job. We realize that our human minds cant justify the reason behind God's greatness and reasoning. I know that I can't question God in my suffering, because I don't dare question him in my happiness. We could accept many troubles with courage if we lived with this mindset:
"So much of our praise to the Lord is limited to the moments when we have determined that what he has done is good: the times of physical healing, financial provision, improved circumstances, restored relationships, or solved problems. In these situations, we praise God for his faithfulness. But what does all of this communication miss? The fact is that God is active in every moment of our lives (even hardship), and that he brings all things into our lives for our redemptive good.”-Paul David Tripp