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"No; I am your Answer."

No discussion of pain and suffering would be complete without spending time with Job. Job, who, in a triple catastrophe, lost his wealth, his children, and his health.

I know that I would have questions for God in such a circumstance. And Job did. He cried out his questions chapter after chapter, while he put up with the so-called “comfort” of his judgmental friends.

But the book of Job ends without an answer to all the questions. Job never understood the “why” of what had happened to him. He didn’t have a glimpse into the spiritual battle that was playing itself out in his life.

In response to all Job’s questions, God said, “NO; I WILL NOT GIVE YOU ANY ANSWERS: I AM YOUR ANSWER.”

God came in the form of a whirlwind to Job. Instead of answering Job’s questions, God asks a series of penetrating questions of his own, starting with “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?”

Job replies with humility to God’s questioning:

“I know that You can do all things,

And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted …

Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand,

Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know” …

I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear;

But now my eye sees You;

Therefore I retract,

And I repent in dust and ashes.”

When confronted by God’s divine power, wisdom, and holiness, Job simply retracts his questions. He says, “I don’t need answers to all the questions I have been asking – you are all the Answer I need.”

This is so challenging: if we insist upon answers and God chooses not to give them, we can fall into doubt or anger or bitterness or apathy. Yet some answers are beyond our ability to understand. There is no answer that we can comprehend in our humanness for the death of a child. For the terrors or war. For cruelty and wickedness. But God is our Answer to all those tragedies of life, and to every tragedy of life that we experience. He reveals himself to us through his Word, through our Christian brothers and sisters, through his Creation, through his Spirit within us … and he calls us to trust him. To trust in his goodness. To trust in his power. To trust in his love. To trust in his justice.

To trust that, in the end, we will see that he is utterly worthy of our trust. He is the only Answer that satisfies and, in him, we can find rest for our souls.

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