Then Job replied to the Lord: “I know that you can do anything, and no one can stop you. You asked, ‘Who is this that questions my wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. You said, ‘Listen and I will speak! I have some questions for you, and you must answer them.’ I had only heard about you before, but now I have seen you with my own eyes. I take back everything I said, and I sit in dust and ashes to show my repentance.” (NLT)
We quite naturally want some explanations when things go wrong. There must be some cause, some reason. It may even involve us in wanting to pin blame on someone or something when things don’t turn out as expected. It may be as small as a slow running computer or as large as a persistent pandemic.
We don’t always find out the explanations. Either because someone doesn’t tell us, or because there is no explanation. That great sufferer in the Bible, Job, knew quite a bit about this. His friends are trying to offer him reasons and explanations for his suffering. Their attempts weren’t helpful. Job wanted God, not answers.
In the end, he didn’t so much get an explanation for his suffering but a reminder that God was not absent in the midst of it. God reminded him that exhaustive answers and neat solutions were beyond human scope. Job needed simply to know that God was there, amidst his physical and emotional pain.
Something for us to reflect on in a world where things seem out of control and ever so random. Facing such challenges, we may not have all the explanations we want. We may have to be content, like Job, with knowing that God knows what he is doing even when we do not.