“While he was yet speaking, there came another and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and behold, a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead, and I alone have escaped to tell you.” (Job 1:18-19 ESV)
I thought about this verse yesterday and I watched the new of the tornado in Oklahoma at about dinnertime yesterday evening. It was horrible to watch the devastation and then to hear of the loss of life that resulted in this terrible event.
This morning, the radio news talk shows were filled with discussion about the tornado last night. One secular radio host I happened to catch talked about the horrible news coming out and said, “There are just so many questions!” He said, “The theological questions like why God would do this to people bother me the most!” Well, that did it, and I just had to sit down and compose some thoughts about this event and help to point us in the right direction as we seek to answer those tough theological questions in the midst of tragedies like this.
Job lost his children in a similar way. A great wind came and killed them as they were inside eating and celebrating. Job had to hear the news from a servant who had barely made it out himself. Can you imagine getting that kind of news? This of course began a series of numerous trials for Job, and entire book of the Bible devoted to helping us to understand the “why” or lack of a “why” when it comes to difficult circumstances and tough times.
Just a few basic observations from Job’s life that I think can add some perspective for us in these difficult days:
First, God is in control. At no time does God ever not know what is happening in Job’s life and not one time is He ever surprised at what happens. In fact, God is intimately involved in Job’s life and is giving permission for all of these things to take place.
Second, God never gives Job an explanation. I would love to be able to write an article and give the answer to the all-encompassing question of “why,” but in all reality I cannot. God was n control during every trail that Job experienced, but He never tells Job why He (God) allowed for these situations and trials. When you put things into that kind of reality, the question of “why” ends up going away. All we really need to be concerned with is the fact that God is in control. He doesn’t ask our permission when He wants to do something that He doesn’t ever owe us an explanation. He does however; promise to be with us during those trials and difficult times.
Finally, God will use hard situations and difficult times for good. This is after all the promise of Romans 8:28. But in Job’s life it was also exemplified. Job struggled as he went through the hard times, just as anyone would. In the end, Job remained faithful to the Lord and God blessed Job’s life by replacing everything he had lost with even more. Job’s statement says it all, Then Job answered the LORD and said: “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. (Job 42:1-2 ESV)
Answering the hard question of “why” is never easy, and is in fact many times impossible. Turning our eyes to the Lord and fixing our eyes on Christ is much easier and in the end, is really all that our good God wants us to do.