The book of Job has 42 chapters and tackles the universal question of why the innocent suffer. It debunks the notion that cause and effect are inevitably at the heart of suffering (‘we suffer because we sin’), and throughout the book we see different people struggling and wrestling as they try to process this question of human suffering and how a good God can allow so much misery and pain. Job and his friends think at times they have the answers, but working out the ‘mechanics’ of God will always be beyond us. We, the readers, have had a glimpse behind the scenes in Job 1, but even that does not fully answer all our questions.
It’s not until Job 38 that we find God appearing to Job, and even then, it’s not with neatly packaged answers, but with impossible questions. Confronted with God’s awesome power and omniscience and unable to answer His questions, Job can only bow before God in repentance and faith. He can only worship.
Michael Card said, ‘Could it be that questions tell us more than answers ever do?’ (‘Could It Be?‘) Answers are what we seek from God so often. But answers are sometimes beyond our understanding and leave us at a distance still. Questions invite us further into our relationship with God, into struggling and wrestling perhaps, but into a deeper intimacy and personal relationship.
The questions God ask Job remind us of the wonder and majesty of God. They look beyond our questions (which are usually bound up in our own lives and limited understanding) and remind us not only of the ‘bigger question’ but of the bigness of God Himself.
I find it interesting that the book of Job does not answer our questions, but instead introduces us to God’s. Life is about more than knowing all the answers. Life is about worship and wonder, about the transcendence of God and about our own insignificance in so many ways. Yet God loves us so much that He communicates with us and seeks to draw us further into this amazing relationship with Him. As Rend Collective sing,
“Jesus, One and only
Great and holy, we are Yours.
How our hearts race at Your glory;
Lord Almighty, we are Yours and Yours alone.’ (‘One And Only’, Rend Collective)
Questions and answers both pale into insignificance when we are confronted by the sheer awesomeness of God, when we glimpse His holiness and power. We’re only left with worship as our appropriate response.