Then the Lord said to Job,
“Do you still want to argue with the Almighty?
You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?”
Then Job replied to the Lord,
“I am nothing—how could I ever find the answers?
I will cover my mouth with my hand.
I have said too much already.
I have nothing more to say.” (NLT)
When life gets hard, as it did for Job, we want answers, we demand explanations. Job’s friends reckoned they had the answers and offered their explanations. They were mistaken. Job himself is now reduced to silence as he recognises some things are utterly beyond him.
When others offer apparently neat and easy answers to our problems they may well be neat and easy but are most likely to be wrong. We have to grapple with mystery and complexity in life and in faith. Becoming a Christian doesn’t mean having all the answers and knowing all there is to know.
It means we have enough knowledge, enough assurance, that there is a God who loves us and who has proven that through Jesus. This enables us to live with the mess and mystery of life without having all the answers. Our faith is not meant to offer simple answers to complex questions. It is meant to help us live with the complexity assured we are loved.
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This is not to deny certain basic and simple truths. It is a simple truth that we are loved, but we are sometimes at a loss to understand how that love is being expressed. It is a simple truth that Jesus died for my sins, but the mechanics of it and the implications of it are far from simple.
Job’s friends figured he needed answers. Job himself figured he needed God. And in encountering God he got the only answer he needed.