Taking Thoughts Captive


God, the Answer to "Why?"

Job 42:1-6  

"Then Job answered the LORD and said,  2 "I know that You can do all things, And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.  3 'Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?' "Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know."  4 'Hear, now, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You instruct me.'  5 "I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear; But now my eye sees You;  6 Therefore I retract, And I repent in dust and ashes." 

I have always been intrigued and thought it instructive that after all Job faced in his life, God never explained why to him. "Why" is the constant refrain of children and as you likely know, parents are not always inclined to explain why. In addition, as a father or mother, you may know that your child might not understand "why" even if you were inclined to share it with them.

Christian adults are really no different, you and I also want to know "why" don't we? "Why did God let this happen?" Why doesn't God do something about this?" "If God is loving, then why does He allow suffering?" "When is God going to make this end?" This is just a sampling of our endless "why" questions about God.

If anyone ever had a reason to demand to know why, it was Job. What a Godly man, how dedicated to God he was. Job so feared God that it was his custom to offer sacrifices on behalf of his children out of concern that perhaps any of them had cursed God in their hearts (Job 1:5). God Himself thought highly of Job and stated that there have been few like him in all of history (Ezekiel 14:19-20). Despite such love for God and such holy commitment, God chose to send a great trial of faith into Job's life. In one day his children and possessions were gone. Soon to follow, his body was covered in sores from head to toe. If this wasn't enough, his own wife counseled him to, "curse God and die" (Job 2:9).

None of this added up to Job nor does it add up to you or me. It does appear as you read the book of Job, that he wanted to know why (Job 10:2). Here is where it becomes instructive...

When God chooses to speak to Job, he does not come to explain why He sent such a trial into Job's life. On the contrary, God decides that He is going to demand some answers Himself (chapters 38-41). By the time God comes to the end of His barrage of questions to Job, Job is left no longer asking, "why?" Instead, Job is brought to the place of repentance and confesses that He was wrong when he questioned God as he did. Job made declarations about God and his circumstances and what was going on that he should not have made (Job 42:3).

This is so very beautiful. As Job experienced more of God Himself, his desire to know why vanished. God's trial of Job did result in Job coming to know something and Job tells us what it is, "I know that you can do all things and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted (42:2). God gave Job something better than the answer to his "why" question, He gave Job Himself. 

When you and I come to see more of God's greatness our desire to know why is satisfied. It isn't a provision of the details that quiets us, it is God Himself. It might be stated like this:

  • "If God is this great, then He must know what He is doing even if I do not know what He is doing."
  • "If God is this great, then, He must be in control of what is happening.
  • "If God is this great, then the things taking place in the world and in my own life are, "too wonderful for me" to understand (Job 42:3)

Then so beautifully:

  • "If this great God is my Father, then these painful circumstances must be for my good even though I don't comprehend how they could be right now."

The truth of God's greatness covers all circumstances at all times. The truth of God's greatness includes a shaken world confronted with a virus. The truth of God's greatness includes your circumstances and mine.

Pursuing and embracing the truth that God is great will serve you well all your days. It will explain your life and the world to you, even without the details. You and I can have peace without knowing details because peace is ours through knowing the greatness of God not the answer to our, "why" questions.