Summary: In times like these, when answers are hard to come by and the extremity of pessimism has been reached, mature Christians renew confidence in the Lord God Almighty to redeem that which at the moment begs to be explained.
CHRISTIANS CAN BE CONFIDENT THAT INEXPLAINABLE SUFFERING IS REDEEMABLE
Nothing hurts worse than the emotional experience of watching a child suffer . . . “being there” for someone whose loved one has committed suicide . . . holding the hand of a dying person struggling to breathe.
We could go on - telling stories of suffering, wherein just “being there” - in person, or, in thoughts and prayers – was, is, far more powerful than attempts to explain that which is inexplainable. Such suffering must be left “in God’s hands”.
Although suffering is beyond human understanding, it’s okay for God’s people, called by His Name, to humble themselves, to pray, and to seek answers from the LORD God our Maker as we wrestle with issues relative to suffering. Just be sure to do so with receptive minds.
The Book of Job is the story of one righteous man’s struggle with God for an explanation of his suffering. Long story short: Job never received an explanation!
Instead --- The Lord God challenged Job to see himself and his situation in light of Who God Is and What God Does - in order to gain a new perspective on how God works in and through circumstances to accomplish HIs overall objective.
An excerpt from the lengthy dialogue which occurred between Job and God will suffice to give us insight into the challenge God issued to Job --- Job 40:1-8 . . .
God challenged Job to realize that we mortals don’t know enough to fully understand God’s work, nor do we know enough to understand God’s justice.
Humanly speaking, we are good at complaining . . . arguing . . . finding fault. God asks Job: “Will a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?”
This is actually a follow-up question to God’s speech in the previous two chapters (38-39) in which God points to the wonders of His natural creation, then asks Job probing questions (38:4): “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation” and (39:27): “Does the eagle soar at your command and build his nest on high”?
To “contend with the Almighty” means to disrespect God’s sovereignty . . . to disregard God’s authority as if God does not know what He is doing.
Recall one of our studies in connection with the series “Defending Our Faith”? Based on Psalm 19 . . . We concluded that our best defense is to be able to say with certainty: We Rest Our Case on the Sovereignty of God!
By the end of his dialogue with God, Job reached the determination we all need to reach: God is great . . . good . . . to be thanked for His goodness and mercy.
Before arriving at that determination, Job had undergone several moments of truth in which he realized just WHO it was he had been scolding, as if a little voice in his head said: “Job, don’t you realize you are chastening the Lord God Almighty?”
At that moment of realization, it’s as if a light came on in his head and Job blurted out, “Well, shut my mouth!” Have you ever felt that you or someone you were listening to would do everyone a favor if they would just hush?
One of Job’s finest moments occurred next - when he chose to be silent. Silence can be, though not always, golden. Mark Twain once said that he wondered about a certain politician’s ignorance, then the politician opened his mouth and erased all doubt. Sometimes folks need to set aside their differences so that they can just listen and learn!
There’s a much more significant aspect of silence suggested here:
In times of intense suffering caused by great loss, there comes that moment of truth, after all has been said and done, when we simply stop what we are doing, or stop on our way somewhere, and just sit there in silence, in awe of God’s wonderful works of nature as may be depicted in a painting, or, as visualized by a magnificent sunset, or sunrise, or whatever it is in God’s beautiful world that has captured our attention and left us speechless. Therapeutic!
Eventually to Job’s credit he put out of his mind words he had heard as well as his own misgivings about God, to listen and learn. In this case, God stirred up a storm complete with thunder and lightning to get Job’s attention!
As you review life’s experiences: recall who or what got your attention and turned your thoughts toward God . . . spoke to your heart . . . served as perhaps God’s instrument of discipline and healing in your life.
Job came to attention! (Like coming to attention in the presence of a superior Army officer) and was told by sovereign God to get ready to be disciplined like a man!