I am guessing that most of you know the story of Job – if you are unfamiliar with it, it is an amazing read! After 37 chapters of questions about suffering and tons of misguided advice from Job’s “friends,” God himself takes the stand. Here is just a portion of what He says in Job 38:
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.
“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Tell me, if you know so much.
Who determined its dimensions
and stretched out the surveying line?
What supports its foundations,
and who laid its cornerstone
as the morning stars sang together
and all the angelsshouted for joy?
“Who kept the sea inside its boundaries
as it burst from the womb,
and as I clothed it with clouds
and wrapped it in thick darkness?
For I locked it behind barred gates,
limiting its shores.
I said, ‘This far and no farther will you come.
Here your proud waves must stop!’
“Have you ever commanded the morning to appear
and caused the dawn to rise in the east?
Have you made daylight spread to the ends of the earth,
to bring an end to the night’s wickedness?
As the light approaches,
the earth takes shape like clay pressed beneath a seal;
it is robed in brilliant colors.
The light disturbs the wicked
and stops the arm that is raised in violence.
“Have you explored the springs from which the seas come?
Have you explored their depths?
Do you know where the gates of death are located?
Have you seen the gates of utter gloom?
Do you realize the extent of the earth?
Tell me about it if you know!
“Where does light come from,
and where does darkness go?
Can you take each to its home?
Do you know how to get there?
But of course you know all this!
For you were born before it was all created,
and you are so very experienced!
(FYI – this is evidence that sarcasm IS a spiritual gift )
“Have you visited the storehouses of the snow
or seen the storehouses of hail?
(I have reserved them as weapons for the time of trouble,
for the day of battle and war.)
Where is the path to the source of light?
Where is the home of the east wind?
“Who created a channel for the torrents of rain?
Who laid out the path for the lightning?
Who makes the rain fall on barren land,
in a desert where no one lives?
Who sends rain to satisfy the parched ground
and make the tender grass spring up?
“Does the rain have a father?
Who gives birth to the dew?
Who is the mother of the ice?
Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens?
For the water turns to ice as hard as rock,
and the surface of the water freezes.
That is about a quarter of what God says to Job. Job chapter 38 through 41 is God’s speech in its entirety. In a nutshell, an incredibly VAST nutshell, God’s response to Job’s suffering is a description of who HE is. Ladies, I can tell you from the depths of my heart– the older I get and the more suffering and struggle I see–the more convinced I am that above all else, in every situation, the ONLY thing I can hang my hat on is WHO GOD IS–what His word and creation reveals about Him and what He’s revealed to me in His faithfulness up to this point.
Do I question and struggle and try to figure out the “whys”? Absolutely I do–probably just like you do. But when it’s all said and done, I understand that I worship and serve a God who doesn’t owe me an explanation–a mysterious God who I can never hope to fully understand in this life.
In Matt Redman’s book Facedown, he says this about worship…
“When our eyes are opened to the big picture and we catch a greater glimpse of God, we are awestruck. The otherness of God, His wonderful mysteries, the view of the whole Christ, the song of creation and the sound of sheer silence all lead us in one direction – awe. Facedown worshippers found throughout Scripture all have one thing in common: an awesome view of God. . . . We live as worshippers of the otherly in a culture of the ordinary. Society today attempts to explain everything. But when it comes to worship, not everything can be explained. In worship, explanation gives way to mystery. And mystery leads us to reverence and awe. We are to worship with understanding but never complete understanding. Who can fathom the depths of the God we worship? . . . As we gaze upon the Lord in worship, we are drawn into this mystery. . . . We become awestruck worshippers, living every note of our existence in response to His glory.”