But one of the things that might be most difficult for us when reading Job is this: In the end, there really isn't an answer given to the book's main question. That question could be stated thus: "Why do bad things happen to good people?" Now, we are given some insight that Job didn't have, and that's helpful. For instance, we can see that God wasn't punishing Job at all, (making the whole conversation about whether His punishment was fair or not a moot point). Still, there is a part of me that wishes that God would have enlightened Job on this point; that He would've shared some of the background with Job; that He would've explained that the attacks came from Satan. But He doesn't. God's answer to Job is basically "Job, you don't know as much as you think you do! There are a lot of things that are WAY beyond your comprehension" (Although God says it far more eloquently than that!) But at the end of the day, Job doesn't get an answer to his question "Why me?" And isn't that really what we want? We want an answer! We dislike unanswered questions. Mysteries make us a tad uncomfortable. When the question "Why DO bad things happen to good people?" comes up on a test, we'd like to be able to respond confidently, knowing that we got the correct answer.
But isn't it true that the lack of a concrete answer is one of the most instructive lessons we can take from the book of Job? For Job himself, the epiphany is this: I still don't understand why these things happened to me, but I'm alright with that. I understand how utterly beyond my comprehension God is. And even when I don't understand the "why", I will worship, praise and adore Him. And this lesson still resonates today in our culture just as well as it did then. Nowhere does God promise that we will always have the answer or that we will understand every little thing. Nonetheless, we are absolutely called to revere, worship and trust Him completely...even when we don't understand the "why"!! Often we are given understanding and insight into God's plan. I'm really thankful for those moments and they have been formative in strengthening my faith. However, the real sign of maturity for a believer is to understand that even when we don't understand everything, what we must understand is that in all times and in every way, God is good! He is always fair! His plan is always best! And when we can doggedly maintain these facts, even in the face of circumstances that might seem to state otherwise, then maybe we've really learned a valuable lesson from Job.
- Pastor Paul