Rather than Asking Why, ask Who
Read Job 1:23-22, 38:1-7
“You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted” (42:2)
In a few hours, Job’s world was complete turned upside down. In dramatic and tragic fashion, he lost not only all his possessions, but the thing that was most precious to him—his children. We can only image the depth of his pain as he is haunted by the question of “why”. Throughout the book of Job, we see Job and his friends wrestle with this question. Why do people suffer and experience tragedy? Yet even as Job laments his sorrow and wrestles with gaining some understanding of the events that came upon him, his faith remained steadfast even as he questioned the working of God. From the outset he affirmed his trust in God when he stated, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” But his faith did not prevent him from questioning God’s activities. In the subsequent arguments with his friends, each of them attempt to answer the question of why Job is suffering. For Job, the answer seemed to be hidden behind a reality that pointed to God being unjust. For his friends, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar, it was because of Job’s personal sin. But ultimately, in contradiction to traditional wisdom where wisdom came from the aged, it was the youngest that pointed to the right direction. Elihu arrives silently upon the scene and for a times sits and listens to the debate of those sitting of the ash heap of despair. Finally, he can remain silent no longer. Instead of arguing Job’s innocence or guilt, Elihu points them in a different direction. Instead of focusing upon the question of why people suffer, Elihu rather points them to God who is just in his dealing and remains sovereign over the affairs of men. Thus, Elihu opens the door for God now to speak. Instead of answering Job’s questions, beginning in chapter 37-41, God now redirects Job’s thoughts to the question of who---Who is the one who controls the universe and governs all aspects of creation’s existence? God! Ultimately, God is not accountable to us, we are merely to submit to him and trust in him regardless of the circumstances. The ultimate question then is not “why do I suffer” but “who is the one who controls and sustains the universe?” He is God, and that is sufficient. In these times of certainty, it is easy to be caught up into asking why these things are happening, but we need to redirect our focus to the “who”. When we understand the greatness of God, the question of why is no longer important. The only important truth is that we have a God who is still in control of the universe, the world, and our lives. After God’s rebuke, Job concludes, “I know that You can do all things and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted” (42:2), and for the child of God that is all we need to know. We can never fully answer the question of why, but we can fully trust in the Who.