(Studying Job with Abounding Hope for this term's HelloMornings Challenge).
This used to be my first response to anything bad that came along, from a red light when I was late to Spock's birth defect. But I cannot honestly now think of a more dangerous question to ask God, and this for several reasons. The first reason should be enough to keep us from asking it: namely, we might get an answer. I don't know about you, but the older I get, the less I really want to know about the inner workings of God's plan. I am perfectly happy to never be a prophet, to remain in truly blissful ignorance. Of course, there are several things I could ask and have asked "why" about over the years, but what if the answer is that it is merely preparation for something more difficult? Do I really want to know? No thanks. Sufficient for today is the evil thereof. (Matt 25:34)
The second reason is that when we start asking "why" we start coming to our own extra-biblical conclusions. Take Job's "friends." Please, he'd really like you to. :/ Entire false teachings have been built up around this idea that simply because something bad happened to someone, they are being punished. In Acts 28:4, Paul is bit by a snake and the Maltans immediately assume he is a murderer, because that is the conclusion they have drawn from asking "why." We Christians become a nasty bunch when we start judging others who are suffering, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ. How cruel is it for a woman to lose a child and have people tell her that it is because of some secret sin in her life? Really? I'm fairly certain that, if this were true, Christians would all be the poorest of the poor, we'd all be eating out of garbage tins, that is if we lived longer than a few years after our conversion. The bible seems pretty plain that if we say we are without sin we are liars and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8) (emph mine)
Thirdly, and this is the lesson I've been learning only lately, is "why" our first response? If so, maybe we need to reexamine our faith. I was struck by what is written of Job, after he has, in only a matter of minutes, lost every single possession AND all ten of his children (take a moment and really try to fathom that)...Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshipped. (Job 1:20) I have five sons, a couple of cars, a house, a nice chunk of property (by SoCal standards), a job I love, etc. I think I could stand to lose all the possessions. Shoot, in mid-life you start thinking of just chucking them and starting over. :D But my kids? If they all died, and all at the same time...I really don't know if I could even function, ever again. And, honestly, the idea of worshipping God at that moment, well, I just can't see myself doing it. :/
But Job was ready for it. He had prepared himself his entire life. Job 1:1 says Job was blameless & upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. His daily life was one of honoring God, of prayer, of self-discipline...trust me, it takes a lot of self-discipline to turn away from evil, especially these days when we are intentionally blurring the lines so much. He was one who prayed, even that God would forgive the sins of his children. "Thus Job did continually." (Job 1:5b) (emph mine)
I was recently listening to a Francis Chan sermon where he started by talking about a funeral for his wife's grandmother, then talked about her life. He said he'd never known anyone more in love with Jesus than her. One thing that struck me was a story he told about how she went with them to a play. It was a nice play, no bad things, nothing offensive. At intermission he asked her how she liked it and she told him she didn't want to be there. She was thinking that she would rather be doing something like serving others if Christ came back right then. He said he spent the second act in prayer for everyone he knew, just in case Grandma had the inside scoop on something. :) Grandma was like Job. She was ready, and she was always desiring to be ready.
In my life, the question "why" to God has never gotten me anywhere, except bitter and angry. The people I know who are constantly asking "why" are all bitter and angry. "Why" just simply doesn't prepare us for the evil of today, or tomorrow. We do not know when it will come. AW Pink, pretty much my fave author (just in case you're looking for something to get me), said that if the only growth a Christian knows occurs during trials, he should probably question his Christianity. I was confused the first time I read that, but now I see that we need to grow before the trials, then we will be strong during them Yes, we will grow in the trials also, but if we use all our so-called "down-time" in nothing but frivolity and worldliness, we should definitely question where our loyalties lay.
Judging from what I've seen growing up in the church, this isn't the popular way to live, but it looks far less painful to have that peace that passes all understanding when the trials come suddenly, like they did for Job.