Think about the latest “bad” thing that happened to you. What was your reaction? For me, it was a minor inconvenience like forgetting about the construction on route 7 and finding myself delayed for an appointment. My response would be to make a u-turn, be slightly frustrated and then feel rushed. It would NOT typically be “well, this is what God has chosen for me and I will be content in it.”
Moving into the book of Job now, we have something far more serious than a slight inconvenience. We have the death of every single family member but his wife, every possible material loss and a near-death health problem all occurring in one man’s life on one day. It is truly unimaginable to me. And yet, Job’s first response is seen in today’s Scripture verse-and even more astounding it ends with “the Lord be praised.” What? How is that even possible??
Anyone who knows me knows Job is not my favorite book. I have so many “why” questions and I am not alone. Job did too. His friends tried throughout the book to answer some and they answered wrong. I have never quite understood what God wants us to learn about Him from this book.
Today, I gained some insight. In reading today, and viewing the Bible Projects intro to Job, they point some key things out:
-Job does not answer the question about why bad things happen.
-Job instead, asks us to trust God when we are suffering instead of trying to figure out the reason. We may never know. It teaches us to bring our pain and grief to God as Job did, and trust God without the knowing. We have to trust that He does care and knows what He is doing.
Phew! That is NOT easy. I don’t know how Job responded as he did, but it was the right response. It is how we need to respond as well. If you haven’t already, you will eventually experience suffering without the answer to the “why” at some time in your life. There will be no clear cut “lesson” learned or “good” from our perspective to come from it. Maybe you are in a situation now that you don’t understand with a friend. Maybe you are waiting for something you thought God would bring your way and it hasn’t happened. Whatever the struggle, seek God for guidance and help-but also be willing to accept the fact you may never get the “why” answer. This is why we need to know God better-these times will require pure trust in God, and the better we know him, the easier it will be to trust Him in these times of grave suffering.