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Devotional Archives
(January 21, 2003)

Why, God?

      By Fern Horst

"The LORD answered Job, and said, Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it. Then Job answered the LORD, and said, Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.... I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not." (Job 40:1-5; 42:2-3)

Have you ever gone through an experience where you felt that God had abandoned you? God can do anything, right? So it's easy to become angry at Him for not giving us what we think would relieve us of our misery and bring us great happiness. But as always, the problem isn't with what God is doing, the problem lies with our perception. We perceive that our happiness and personal fulfillment are what is best for us. And so we assume that God doesn't love us because He withholds whatever it is we think would accomplish this.

In reality, many reasons could be possible for why we are going through a dreaded experience:

  1. In the case of Job, his suffering was a result of his righteousness. He wondered desperately why God was allowing him to suffer, and he wondered why God was so silent about it. And yet he committed himself to being faithful to God, no matter what happened. What he didn't know at the time was that, behind the scenes in the heavenly realms, God was allowing Satan to bring these calamities on Job. It was a war in the heavenlies -- one that would prove that God is still worthy of man's praise, even when no evident reason is left to praise Him. Job was chosen for this test because God knew that he would withstand it on His behalf. In the end, God gave Job back double what he'd had before.

  2. Our situation may be a result of choices we've made or that others have made. God has given us a free will, and He hasn't promised to override all of our wrong decisions. Sometimes we suffer the consequences of either our sin or someone else's. But God is always merciful, and He will not allow us to experience more than we can bear. He also promises to work everything together for good. In such a situation our repentance, forgiveness of those who wronged us, and submission to the Lord's purposes will bring healing much more quickly than if we become resentful and bitter.

  3. God may be preparing us for something -- something that requires the character that can only be developed in difficult situations. Again, it's important that we submit and not resist, so that we learn whatever we need to be learning. Often those who minister most effectively to others are those who have gone through difficult times themselves.

  4. There are many, many other reasons that only God knows. His ways are higher than our ways and there's no way we can figure out all the whys of any situation.

Job demanded that God explain why He had allowed such calamity to come upon him when he'd been living with integrity before the Lord.

In chapters 38-41 of Job, God turns the questions on Job: "Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?" (Job 38:3-5)

Question after question from God showed Job that he knew very little about the whys of life. Only God in His infinite wisdom knew all the answers. The assumptions Job and his friends made for why he was suffering, were not anywhere close to the real reason. They could have saved themselves additional grief if they had laid down their assumptions and waited for the Lord to explain, if He chose to do so.

I believe that at times God wants to show us the answers to our why questions. When we humbly place those questions before Him and wait for His answer, He sometimes shows us in His time.

But if the answer is not forthcoming we save ourselves a lot of grief if we leave our whys before Him in faith, trusting that He knows and that that is enough. What is truly wonderful is that God's purposes will prevail in our lives whether or not we have all the answers.

© 2003 Fern Horst

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