Thursday, January 22, 2015

My Questions and My Faith

The questions hung in the air.  Why was God allowing this?  Job’s children had died.  He had lost all his wealth.  He had sores that left him in pain every hour of every day.  He had lost the respect of those around him.  He believed God was real.  He believed he had been faithful.  Yet he was hurting beyond belief.  Job had a lot of questions.  But no answers.

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If you remember the story of Job in the Bible, then you know more than Job knew.  You know that Satan came before God accusing Job of not really loving God.  You know Satan said that Job would curse God to His face if God took away his blessings.  You know that Job would eventually be blessed again.  You know that thousands upon thousands of people in history have been able to stay strong in difficult times because of Job’s example. 

But Job never knew that. 

And that may be what amazes me most about the life of Job.  He had no answers to his questions, and – though he bordered on disrespect by implying God was not treating him fairly – he never considered turning away from God. 

God shows up and speaks to Job starting in Job chapter 38, but God never explains why everything happened as it did.  God didn’t tell Job about Satan’s challenge.  He didn’t tell Job that he would be wealthy again.  He didn’t tell Job that he would help so many people be faithful because of his example. 

God’s answer (in my paraphrase) was simply: “Trust Me, I have a perspective you don’t have.”
In his lifetime, Job never knew why those terrible things happened.  And yet he still had faith.

Our Questions

You probably have questions.  I know I do.  Why did God let that happen?  Or why doesn’t God stop more of the evil in the world?  Or why did God act in this instance but not in that instance?   Why, why, why.  Given time to sit under the stars and think out loud, our list could go on and on. 
The Bible is very up front that there will be things we don’t understand.  Deuteronomy 29:29 says “the secret things belong to the Lord our God,” and that our job is to observe the things that have been revealed to us.  Romans 11:33 says that the depth of God’s judgments and wisdom will be “unsearchable” and “unfathomable” from our limited perspective.

So questions will be part of our existence.  But hopefully we don’t stop at questions… 

Our Faith

Even though I have questions, I also have faith. 

I have faith that even though I don’t fully understand things, I serve a God who has shown Himself trustworthy.  The Bible tells us of people who had questions – just like us – but who eventually came to see that God knew what He was doing all along. 

Joseph must have asked questions at every step along an unfair prime of his life.  But by the end of his life, he is able to say that he saw how God had been working through his life, even in the bad parts (Gen. 50:20).

You have probably had some of those “Joseph Moments” already yourself.  Moments where you looked back and realized that God was doing good things all along, even though you didn’t see it at the time. 

I’ve had enough of those moments to trust that God will continue to act in the best ways at the best times.  To trust that the things I don’t understand will eventually become clear with a longer perspective.  

Our Challenge

In spite of life’s unanswerable questions, let’s strive to have Job’s steadfast faith.  To quiet our souls, and to be at peace: we are walking with God, and everything will be OK.  God has shown Himself worthy of trust, and there is enough evidence to believe He knows what He’s doing, even if we haven’t seen the ‘answers’ yet.   

Like Job, we will certainly have questions.  And like Job, I hope we also have faith.

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