Printed from the Blue Letter Bible
Human wisdom is inadequate to answer the inscrutable ways of God. This is especially true when pondering why people suffer. Some people reason that God is not all–good or He is not all–powerful. More problematic is finding a satisfactory explanation of why the righteous suffer. This pursuit for an answer is not just theological curiosity but theological practicality, especially when unexplainable hardship, disease, and adversity enter our lives or the lives of those we know and love. Equally disturbing is wondering why pain and heartache happen to good people, while it appears to escape the wicked.
This predicament is not without historical parallel. A man of ancient origin was unrivaled in piety and prosperity. He was a just man living by faith; yet one day his life was unexplainably, dramatically, and instantaneously devastated. He lost virtually everything he valued. He clung to his faith through pain, suffering, and doubt, but not without understandable tension and testing. He reasoned, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away: Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21)
Here was a man without an adequate explanation for his dilemma, but he did have an adequate view of God. His view of God comforted him when other people could not. He was resigned to live by faith in the goodness of God. “Shall we accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10). His three friends, the so–called “grief counselors,” only added to his consternation. They suggested the reason for his suffering could not be found in God, but in Job himself. He must have done some terrible thing, committed some horrible secret sin, or was self–deceived to think he was righteous in the eyes of God on the basis of faith. Heaven seemed silent as he scraped his wounds and bargained with God.
It was only when God spoke from a whirlwind that this man became silent. What can a man say to the One who spoke all things into existence and sustains them by His will? Who could challenge and question this God when He descended from heaven? He did not come to give explanations. He came to affirm His goodness and sovereign rule over all things, including human suffering.
For those seeking to know more about the “God of the Whirlwind,” join me for this study through Job. We will discover the greatness of God as well as our own frailty. We will find that there is a Mediator to plead our case with God. We will examine God’s immensity as well as immediacy. We shall be delighted to find Him seated on the throne. We shall be challenged to re–affirm in our own lives that “the just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17).
Donald R. Smith
Laguna Hills, California