Answers (Job 23:5)

I would learn the words He would answer,
And perceive what He would say to me.

Job 23:5

After a large amount of talking in generalities, Job’s “friends” come to the point and start accusing him directly of wrongdoing. Having read all the preceding chapters and knowing what follows, it is clear that Job’s sufferings are not due to his sins and, moreover, his sins would have been dealt with according to Jesus’ atonement. Job was looking for his Redeemer and knew that his Redeemer was alive already. Dude had some beefy faith.

Part of Job’s response to being accused of wrongdoing is to say that he would like to talk with God and present his case to God and learn what God would say about it. He later (v15) admits that being in God’s presence would most likely make him (Job) forget what he was going to say. But his sentiment — wanting to know what God has to say about certain things — is a common one. People wonder why God fill-in-the-blanks.

Why does God allow evil in the world? Why does God let innocent people suffer? Why does God … I think the picture is pretty clear. We wonder. We look around and see things in our world that are at odds with what we know of God and His character and we wonder how He can stand it and why He allows it and on and on. We are full of questions. And we want God to answer those questions.

Years ago, my youngest sister passed away. She is a believer, so I fully expect to see her again. She was in her early twenties when her body stopped. No illness. No failure of any one system. Nothing. It was so odd that the coroner performed an autopsy. Results? Natural causes. Her body simply stopped. It would have been natural to wonder why and I am sure that everyone in my family did at some point. For my part, I went to God with my questions and I learned something: When I go to God for answers, I am sometimes met with silence. When I go to God for Himself, the answers often come along for the ride. It is like what C.S. Lewis wrote about Heaven and Earth. If we aim at Earth and hope for Heaven, we get neither. If we aim for Heaven, we get Earth thrown in. The foregoing is paraphrased and the original (far more eloquent) language can be read in Lewis’ Mere Christianity. My paraphrase and the original are not the point. The point is that there is a principle at work in God’s Kingdom. The principle is that we must do what seems counterintuitive in order to achieve our goal. To live, we must die; to gain, we must lose; to be exalted, we must humble ourselves; to be strong, we must first realize that we are weak. The list goes on and on. To obtain the answers we want, we must come to God not for answers but for Himself. In so doing, we realize that He is the answer. Why did my sister pass away? I can give lots of suggestions that may or may not make people feel better, but the final answer is that she’s gone because God removed her from here. That’s it. And, in seeking God, I realized that answer was more than sufficient because the One Who backs the answer is more than sufficient.

I still catch myself with questions. Some are more appropriate than others, but they keep coming back. I’m curious. I seek to know. God never says I should stop seeking, He just offers Himself as the area of inquiry. I can come to God for answers and He may grant them. Or I can come to God for Himself and the answers often come along for the ride.

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