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“Why did I not perish at birth, and die as I came from the womb” (Job 3:11)?
Have you ever felt that low?
So many things had gone wrong in Job’s life — for no apparent reason — that he despaired of life. He had lost his children, his marriage, his belongings, his health and his reputation. When he asked, “Why?” his four friends said, “You must have sinned grievously or God would never allow this to happen to you.”
“But I’ve always tried to do what’s right,” Job replied.
“You couldn’t have,” his friends insisted. They kept accusing him of sin and Job kept defending himself. After thirty seven chapters of this, they were no closer to an answer than when they started.
That’s when God showed up and spoke for Himself. Although He cleared Job of all sin, He did not give him an answer as to why he had suffered. Instead, God asked Job questions which he, being a mere man, could not answer. And what was Job’s conclusion? “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5,6).
We worship God when we leave it up to Him to interpret our circumstances. We worship God when we allow our heartache and our horrible circumstances to crowd us closer to the One who grieves with us because He loves us more than we can imagine.
Like Job, I’ve discovered that God doesn’t give us an answer to our why questions. Instead, He offers Himself: a listening ear, a refuge in the storm, a center when persons we trusted forsake us; a foundation when everything caves in. Suffering provides an opportunity for us to get to know God in a deeper, more personal way.
I’ve stopped asking why to life’s inexplicable situations. Instead, I ask now what? Now that this thing has happened, what can I do to make my life a little better? How can I help to bring some relief to those who are also suffering? I can’t do anything about the why, but I can do something about the what. And that’s where I want to put my energies.
Dear God, I want to trust You even when I don’t understand what’s happening in my life. Amen.
Questions: How can you help to bring some relief to those who are also suffering? Why does God allow suffering?
About the Author Helen Grace Lescheid