Daily D – Job 38:1
Then the LORD answered Job from the whirlwind. JOB 38:1 (CSB)
A million or more Why questions have been asked in times of grief and loss. A million or more are still to come. Some well-meaning people tell us not to ask Why. Maybe they are afraid God will show up and speak to them like he did to Job here in these last chapters. Maybe they think everything bad that happens is somehow God’s fault and we are to accept it as such.
This advice sounds a little like the Commandant of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets some years ago. He gave a group of parents several ways to comfort our children when they called and told us how hard it was in the Corps. One of those special phrases was “Suck it up, Sister.”
Job dared to ask Why. For a long time, his friends told him why. They came up with all the usual answers with all their general truths. They made long and compelling speeches full of first-rate reasoning. Their arguments would have played well in court. They were wrong.
When Job no longer had the strength to fight back, when he was at his wit’s end, God showed up. He showed up in a whirlwind. The NIV calls it “the storm.” The Message says, “the eye of a violent storm.” You will forgive Job if he suffered a moment of PTSD. Way back in chapter one, there was another powerful wind (verses 18 and 19), and his children were killed.
I wonder what Job thought in that moment when God showed up in a storm?
Notice the name of the LORD. This is the name of the One who Always Is, the Eternal One, the Ever-Present, All-Powerful, Creator of heaven and earth. He is the Sovereign over all that is. There is no one like him. Job asked for it. Now he got what he asked for. Almost. God never answered Why.
God answered Who.
Peek ahead to 42:1-6. When Job saw the LORD for who he is, he saw himself for who he was and said, “Therefore, I reject my words and am sorry for them; I am dust and ashes,” (verse 6). The NLT translates these words this way: “I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.” The Message paraphrases it, “I’m sorry—forgive me. I’ll never do that again, I promise! I’ll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.”
Knowing God deeply, personally, experientially does not answer all questions or solve all problems. Instead, it replaces the need for certainty with certain trust and endless hope. Indeed, what we discover is that when we know God in a loving relationship that is real and meaningful, some questions simply do not matter anymore.
Near the end of Mark’s account of the Transfiguration he writes, “Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus,” (9:8). In Revelation 1:12-20, John was on the “island called Patmos” (verse 9). In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, he was alone with Jesus.
Job, Peter, James, and John all testify that no matter how unsearchable our Why questions may be, they are more than answered in Who. Each of these men experienced the kind of terror that drives out lesser fears. Each of them experienced the kind of love and grace that removed fear as a motivator. John even wrote it down that way when he said, “Perfect love drives out fear,” (1 John 4:18).
Job, Peter, James, and John transitioned from knowing about God to knowing God. Whatever the question, He is the answer.
I will exchange powerful questions for knowing and experiencing our all-powerful Father in heaven.
Our Father, I have questions, lots of questions. What I really want to know, however, is you. You are the answer to everything I wonder and everything I fear. You are the solution to all of my problems. You are all I need. You are all I want. You are more than enough. Amen.
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Numbers 14:24 But since my servant Caleb has a different spirit and has remained loyal to me, I will bring him into the land where he has gone, and his descendants will inherit it. (CSB)
Luke 9:18-20 While he was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” They answered, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, that one of the ancient prophets has come back.” “But you,” he asked them, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.” (CSB)
Luke 9:7-8 Herod the tetrarch heard about everything that was going on. He was perplexed, because some said that John had been raised from the dead, some that Elijah had appeared, and others that one of the ancient prophets had arisen. “I beheaded John,” Herod said, “but who is this I hear such things about?” And he wanted to see him. (CSB)
Psalm 56:1,2 Be gracious to me, God, for a man is trampling me; he fights and oppresses me all day long. My adversaries trample me all day, for many arrogantly fight against me. (CSB)