When we experience an extremely difficult time in our life that might cause us to question God and ask, “Why?”, we feel as though we’ve been singled out, slighted, or forgotten. Whether it’s the loss of a job, or a tragic fire burns down your home, or going through the agony of a child’s death, you ask, “God, where are you in this? DO you see me? Why did this have to happen? It’s not fair! This cannot possibly be your will!”
At that moment, our emotions are raw and real. We want answers, and since God is over all, we demand He explain it to us to make sense of it. We challenge his reasoning. We believe that surely no good can come from such unnecessary pain!
This is what Job did, only he took it a step further and actually challenged God. Remember, to prove a point, God had allowed Satan to take nearly everything away from Job except for his wife and his life. Job’s wife told him to curse God and die! She was not exactly supportive of him at his worst time, but don’t forget that she too was grieving the deaths of their 10 children, all of their livestock dying, along with their wealth and livelihood being taken away.
A few days in to his physical torment, Job said, “But I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to argue my case with God….Behold, I have prepared my case; I know that I shall be in the right. Who is there who will contend with me? For then I would be silent and die. Only grant me two things, then I will not hide myself from your face; withdraw your hand far from me, and let not dread of you terrify me. Then call, and I will answer; or let me speak, and you reply to me.”
Job 13:3, 18-22
Wow! That was a bold thing to say. How do you think God responded to this? He spoke to him from a whirlwind, and no doubt that whirlwind was no small breeze either. The Lord said, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” Job 38:2
Then He said a phrase that captured my attention, and He said it two different times:
“Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me.” Job 38:3, 40:7
Other translations say “Gird up your loins like a man…” This is a reference to preparing for battle, for combat, for confrontation. What the Lord was saying to Job was, “Hey little man, get ready for a contest, be courageous, and let the challenge of this case begin.”
God proceeded to ask Job hundreds of questions, none of which Job could respond to or answer. They dealt with topics only the Creator in his infinite wisdom could answer. These questions were illustrations and proof to Job that he doesn’t know enough about life to question the hows and whys of things happening, and proved he just needed to trust Him.
During the Lord’s discourse, He asked, “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God (Job), let him answer it.”
By now, if I had been the one to challenge God to answers, I would be completely humbled and embarrassed. Job felt the same way. He said, “Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have spoken once, and I will not answer, twice, but I will proceed no further.”
Even after Job conceded, the Lord continued his line of questioning and answering himself, completing the challenge that Job had requested.
When it was all said and done, Job’s response was perfect:
“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.”
It is futile for us to wonder the whys of things happening. Oftentimes when we are on the other side of those situations, if we take time to look back, we can see a positive result that came from it. We can also recognize that if it had turned out a different way, so much good might not have been the end result. That is just the tip of the iceberg though. His ways are not our ways because He sees the far greater picture and knows the end result of how it will all work together for good.
The point of today’s study is not to say that we do not have a voice in our life, but the point is for us to remember that we cannot possibly know and understand all of God’s purposes and plans.
He is our Heavenly Father, who loves us dearly. If you are crumbling under the weight of a tragedy, bring it to Him. He will support you through it. His arms will hold you, his eyes see you, and his ears are always listening.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.”
Food for thought: Your answer to the question “What has been your biggest challenge, and how did you deal with it?” can be a very powerful witnessing tool if you have put God in the middle of it, and have left Him in control of it.
“Life is a song – sing it.
Life is a game – play it.
Life is a challenge – meet it.
Life is a dream – realize it.
Life is a sacrifice – offer it.
Life is love – enjoy it.”
Photo by: Kari Wiseman – Green Pasture