In the midst of my recent suffering with Covid-19, I finished reading the book of Job. Finishing the book caused me to ask questions and reflect. Questions like, “If in the beginning of Job God says of him, Job 1:8 (NLT) Then the LORD asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil” then why does God correct him in chapter 38?” Yes, Job was a God-fearing man of integrity, but not a sinless man.
Throughout the book, Job is thinking and assessing – ‘Why did this happen to me?’ He searches his heart and believes there is not willful sin that would bring this upon him. His three friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar try to console and correct Job in the process. They really believe Job has sinned and thus brought this suffering upon himself. We know their theology was wrong because in chapter 42:7-9 God speaks to them and tells them He is angry for not speaking accurately about Him.
Job spent a lot of time thinking and assessing his life and why something like this would come his way. What was missing in all of this we start to see in chapter 38. God addresses Job in 38:1-3 (NLT) Then the LORD answered Job from the whirlwind: “Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorant words? Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.” “Who questions my wisdom…”
Terence Fretheim states in his book, Creation Untamed: The Bible, God and Natural Disasters, that “Trusting in God’s wisdom is the strongest counsel the Bible has to offer; it must suffice. One of the ways we trust God’s wisdom is by refraining from inquiring why God did such a thing to us, or even why He allowed it to happen. God is never uninvolved in cause, but neither should we assume that He is directly involved in causation.”
Job 40:1-5 (NLT) Then the LORD said to Job, “Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?” Then Job replied to the LORD, “I am nothing—how could I ever find the answers? I will cover my mouth with my hand. I have said too much already. I have nothing more to say.”
What are we to take from this? We are not to question God’s purposes and wisdom. Most often suffering deepens a believer’s faith. We should commit ourselves to honoring God and living for Him no matter what circumstances He brings into our lives. Our prayer during these times should be for God to strengthen us so we can endure the suffering and be faithful to Him throughout the trial.
Job’s trial concludes with this response to God, Job 42:1-6 (NLT) Then Job replied to the LORD: “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’ I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.”
May we trust the Lord’s wisdom in our lives. Even when we do not have answers and do not understand, we must trust a sovereign, all-wise God.
Walking with you,