“I will say to God, ‘Do not condemn me; show me why You contend with me.'” Job 10:2 While suffering, a person may have various reasons that they begin to attribute to the cause. Perhaps I am in sin and therefore, God is punishing me. As a believer, we know that sin has been taken care of at the cross. We are no longer condemned. Then, perhaps it is because I made poor decisions and am under the discipline of God. This could be a cause for some suffering. There are consequences to sin that God allows because of our disobedience. But Job neither knows of any sin, nor has been disobedient to God in any way. Therefore, his question is the question that many suffering people ask. “Why?”
Why am I going through this? Why do I have to suffer? Why did I lose my family? Why did my wealth vanish? Why am I suffering with a serious disease? “Why?” is the question that many people ask. Thus far in the book of Job we know one reason why, although Job does not: Because God wanted to prove Job’s worth. He was a good man and would continue to be so, even through suffering. But there are greater reasons that Job will find out later. That is the key for us as well. When I was in the worse part of my cancer battle, I never asked the question, “Why?” I figured I am not Job. I am a sinner that is saved by grace and therefore, I deserve whatever God allows in my life. It was tough. Sometimes I thought, “Why doesn’t God just take me home?” But never, “Why?”.
It was later, as I started to battle metastatic cancer, I started to ask “why?” because I thought God had kept the cancer at bay in order to use me for His kingdom. The thought wasn’t, “Why do I have metastatic cancer,” but “Why did you give me the hope when you were going to take me home anyway?” One of the scriptures the Lord gave me at the time was: “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.” (John 13:7, ESV)
This gave me some peace in the situation. Of course the context is Peter being stubborn about allowing Jesus to wash his feet. But the answer has eternal consequences. Hope comes from knowing that what God is doing in my life now I may not understand, but there will come a time, either in this life or the next, that I will get it. The hurt, the pain, will have an answer.
For Job, his conclusion was that the Almighty was inflicting some horrible things on him for the Sovereign’s enjoyment. Just because God wanted to see Job suffer. If that was the case, then how could one stand before such a maniacal Being? How can anyone enjoy a peace-filled life knowing that any minute, God is ready to strike you down with an illness or with great loss?
If you are suffering today, know that God loves you and has a plan for each and every tear. In fact, He puts those tears in a bottle (see Psalm 56:8). He won’t waste one ounce of pain. He will use it for your good and for His glory. The tendency for those of us suffering is to blame God for the pain. We ask questions like, “Why are You doing this to me?” They are questions Job asked thousands of years ago. We’ll see later on in the book that “Why?” is the wrong question. The correct question is “Who?”. Who are you Lord? Reveal yourself to me. Help me to see you in my pain. When that question is asked, God delights in revealing Himself and when we understand that our accusations about Him were all wrong, He restores our souls and refreshes us in His presence with peace.