We don’t need answers, we just want them. We go through a broken relationship, a friend betrays and our hearts falter, we learn that the troublesome pain in our child’s body is life-threatening, or perhaps it’s even more simple-for no apparent reason, we feel numb.
And in our struggle to survive the conflict that plagues us we thrash about searching for the answer to our question, “Why?” It’s human to ask.
Job, his friends, and his wife, questioned God in the horrific wake of his loss-his precious children taken, his livelihood and all he had worked so hard to acquire, gone. He sat in dusty heap, his own health sabotaged by oozing physical wounds that were no match for his shattered heart, and they took turns trying to unscramble their tumbled minds as they sought answers for the tragedy. They ask questions, and come up with logical reasons why they felt God had allowed such deep loss in Job’s life, and the only result is more conflict, pain, and fraction among them. Job laments in chapter 16:6, “Yet if I speak, my pain is not relieved; and if I refrain, it does not go away.”
By chapter 38, God who seemed silent, answers…with questions for Job. He lovingly but authoritatively begins to remind Job that God’s ways are higher than our ways. For several chapters, God lays out His Mighty and Holy nature for Job. He asks, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?” “Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place?” Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom and spread his wings toward the south?” “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him?” There is a spirit of tough love in the questioning. God is not being callous, He is doing what was necessary-laying the foundation for Job to see that his losses were not a random act of evil but all within a Sovereign plan from One who can with a word, control the raging storms. And Job’s humble response should be ours. “I am unworthy-how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer-twice, but I will say no more.” Job finally realizes that he doesn’t need to “understand” his circumstances, he needs to understand who God IS. You can almost feel the sigh of relief when Job humbly responds, “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.”
I remember the day I decided to stop the maddening questions of my own mind. The plague of trying to understand my own heartbreak felt like an elephant sitting on me and crushing my ability to move forward. It wasn’t doing me any good because the questions I was asking had no answers. Through God’s mercy, He allowed me to move into accepting my circumstances as they were, unanswered. The moment I stopped trying to “sort it all out”, was the moment I could look, just a little bit, to the future, and my heart opened up to hope again.
The process can take time, but for me, the first step was allowing myself to stop asking God why this had happened to me, or to my loved ones. The energy to open my grief-swollen eyes was slightly more present when I could release the burden of vain questioning and rest in the uncertainty, because when we know in our hearts that God’s ways are best, that He is God and we are not, and that He can bring beauty from ashes, then our lives are not uncertain at all. We have a hope that even when tragedy seems to reign, or evil is hissing around us, that God alone controls the wind, the waves, the very tilting of the earth, and the miracle of life and breath. We need not flounder. We need not be in turmoil. We can cry out to God in all our pain and tears and know that He is there, sympathizing with us. Rest in the bigger picture today. Release your jumbled mind to Him and take the time to sort out your grief, but trust that God is bigger than your pain and know that He will in time, just as He did for Job, restore you.
Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory. Psalm 115:1
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