Written by: Christopher Sernaque
The book of Job was, and is, and will remain an extremely personal book for myself, my family, and for countless others. By no means am I saying that I have experienced tragedy on a level that Job has, but we all have met suffering tainted by malevolence. After reading of his suffering, we now come to the final chapter of the book of Job. He is no longer the same man. At this point, he has stopped questioning God and has begun to answer God. (Job 42:1) Why would God have it that He, the one who knows all things, would put Himself in a circumstance where He asks questions?
Why did Jesus ask questions as a child? (Luke 2:46) Because, when you ask yourself the right questions, the right answers will come to you. God did not simply tell Job of His power, He asked Job to think about His creative acts, and then allowed for Job to reach the conclusion that God is all-powerful and trustworthy himself. Think of it like this. In the heat of an argument, is it not easy for both parties to feel as though their position is unquestionable? When we ask ourselves questions like, “What act of foolishness have I committed that led to this incident?” the answer will always come. Why ask questions? Was Job a sinner for asking questions of God? No. However, are there not some questions that we could ask, even ourselves, that would have more profitable answers than others? Look at it like this. Tragedy strikes. Whether it be a natural disaster, loss of life, or sheer and total humiliation, we found ourselves in unpleasant straight places. We could ask, “Why does this always have to happen to me?” or we could try instead, “How do we make the best of what God has given to us?” Both questions are inquiring to the same suffering. Both individuals are feeling the same way. Yet, one will receive an answer that will never satisfy them, while the other will be satisfied that they are received. Received by who? Received by God.
God wants us to ask the right questions. Let us pray that the next time we find ourselves in a situation that is troubling, let us ask God the right questions. Rather than, “Why can’t my life be better?” let’s try “How can I lead a better life?” This mindset change can only come from having the mind of Christ. (Phil 2:5) Jesus asked questions. There is nothing wrong with asking questions, however, let us ask questions of God rather than question God. God will never instruct us to do or not to do something without having a reason for it. (Job 42:3) We may not always understand the way that God acts, but that is because we are not as wonderful as He is! God truly is the only one who truly does things that are wonderful and we, like Job or even Ezra, must in the dust, ashes, and humility repent of our wrongdoings. (Job 42:3,6; Psalm 86:10; Ezra 9:6) There is a quote that Ellen White wrote in relation to Job praying over his friends. (Job 42:10) I would like to close on this point, “Let us pray, not only for ourselves, but for those who have hurt us and are continuing to hurt us. Pray, pray, especially in your mind. Give not the Lord rest; for His ears are open to hear sincere, importunate prayers, when the soul is humbled before Him. ” (Letter 88, 1906)