Have you ever thrown yourself a great, big pity party? I’m in the middle of throwing myself a pretty good one right now. Nothing like Job’s though and certainly not for reasons anywhere near his troubles. Though, there have been some pretty darn low times in my own life, and I have had some pretty good shouting matches with God. And I think that’s what Job is doing right now. He’s angry. But even through his anger and his confusion, with every line I read today, I could still see and feel his faith. It’s almost like he is asking rhetorical questions, but at the same time, he is wanting definitive answers.
Verse 23 really struck me today: Why is life given to those with no future, those God has surrounded with difficulties? It’s a front-runner of questions not only for Christians but especially for people who feel an all-powerful God would never let the people He loves suffer. As for the other questions Job poses, I just got this feeling that deep down, he knows the answers to all of them, but he is so angry and so desperate and so lost and so hurt by what has happened to him, he just needs to vent!
And remember, he is sitting with his three buddies, who have not said a word to him in two weeks, which is what good friends sometimes do. It’s really not that weird. I’m sure they had breakfast convos and chit-chat and stuff. Anyway, after some time, Job just explodes, as we all do on occasion. Job had a meltdown. Do you blame him? I certainly do not. I would have erupted long before now. Well, I say that, but I’m known to hold things in for a pretty darn long time. However, in Job’s complete blowup, he doesn’t denounce God or curse him. He just asks Him why? And that’s totally understandable. We often want to know why to a lot of things we’re faced with in life. And oftentimes, the answer to the question why does not come right away. It’s not even foreseeable sometimes. The answer to the question why often is allusive because it much depends on the asker’s actions. Get what I’m saying? This is a test, and the test question is why.
That actually reminds me of a story our high school speech teacher told us about a college philosophy course his friend took. For the final test of the semester, the teacher handed everyone a sheet of paper, and at the top was one question: “Why?” He said his friend sat and sat and sat and thought and thought and thought while everyone in the class was writing away. The student sat there for nearly two hours during the entire test period not having a clue what to write and wondering what everyone else was writing. Finally, just a few minutes before time was up, he just wrote “Why not” and handed it in. He received an A.
Sometimes we get super angry – with good reason – and often overthink the whys and what ifs we’ve encountered in our lives. And I think God wants us to do that. I think he wants us to think about things deeply, even from His perspective when we can, and to ask Him – and Him alone – why. Because He alone knows the answer. And while He may not give us a reason, He likes when we acknowledge that we know He alone has the answer. I hope that makes sense. In short, it takes a lot of pondering and question asking and thinking sometimes just to arrive at the simplest answer of … why not.
Writing prompt: why not
Look at Job’s questions today, and answer them as best you can.