Job, when he was stricken with all kinds of suffering, went on a quest for answers. He sought understanding – the mysterious “Why” behind his troubles. He wasn’t content with the explanations of his friends, and pressed into God asking the hard questions most of us shy away from.
The following is taken from my book, Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal: A Boy, Cancer, and God about our 2-year-old son’s cancer diagnosis, and the impact on our faith as a family:
“In Job 38 God started talking back. He answered Job out of a whirlwind, which must have been more than a little disconcerting. But after these thirty-seven chapters of accusations, ques- tions, and pain, the answer God gave was not the “Why?” Job was looking for. It was the “Who” he wasn’t.
For the next four chapters, God talked about . . . Himself. He talked about His power and His creativity. He talked about His wisdom and His justice. And He reminded Job that he, as a human, possessed none of those qualities in comparison to the Almighty. Never once did God crack the door of eternity and say, “See, this whole thing started when Satan came walking in here. . . .” Never once did He take Job into the future to show him the good that would come from his struggle. Never once did He reveal the way He would redeem Job’s pain. Never did God show Job one of the billions of Bibles that would be printed in the future, all containing his story. Not one single answer to Job’s specific questions. Just descriptions of Himself.
While that may seem unsatisfying on our end, to know that God doesn’t offer answers or promise a glimpse “on the inside,” we’ve got to ask ourselves the question: Would knowing why really help? And at least for our part, the answer is no. It wouldn’t. Why doesn’t bring back the lost time. Why doesn’t gather up the tears we’ve shed. Why doesn’t make the ache go away. Why doesn’t help with the anxiety of the future.
But “Who” does. God is the redeemer of moments small and large. God gathers up our tears and holds them in His hands. God is the healer of the soul. God is the caretaker of the future. Who helps tremendously in ways that why never could.
That’s what Job’s three friends were missing. It’s incredibly ironic that in their attempt to protect God from Job’s ques- tions, they were actually trying to force their friend to settle for something less than the end of his questions. They were pushing him toward logic and reason, and while that has its place, in cases like this what we need isn’t logic and reason. What the hurting person needs more than anything else is God. ”