Tuesday, May 27, 2008

How can I find the answers?

Houses were shredded by a tornado ripping through Windsor, Colorado last week. A 12-year-old boy is sweating to re-learn to walk after a throat-gripping gun accident at Christmas. A godly, missional woman is fighting cancer.

And we want to cry out, “Why, God?”

We know from Deuteronomy that sin causes suffering. Is the opposite true? Does all suffering come from sin?

That’s the question Job’s friends threw to heaven. Their conclusion? Of course. They badgered Job to admit his sin. But Job, from the first chapter of the book, was described as righteous. Job’s claim, as he sat on a pile of dust scratching his painful boils, was that he deserved none of this.

He shouted: “Why, God?”

When God’s answer finally comes to Job, it silences complaints. God, in describing all the animals of creation, reminds Job that no one understands why God formed the heavens or created an ostrich. Our minds are finite and limited. We cannot understand infinite deity.

God tells Job, as he tells us, that there are mysteries beyond our abilities to understand.

We are people, not deity, and our need is not to understand but to trust.

God challenged Job: "Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God's critic, but do you have the answers?" (Job 40:2)

Job was humbled. His knowledge was dew in the sun. "I am nothing—how could I ever find the answers? I will put my hand over my mouth in silence. I have said too much already. I have nothing more to say." (Job 40:4-5)

The answers to tornadoes and injury and cancer don’t come through the “why’s.” We can’t know. But we can trust the One who does.

(Painting from The Genesis Project, used by permission.)

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