As most of you know, we had a real “Job moment” this week with an unexpected death in our family. While Kevin was not an active member of Gather, his mother, Marcella, has been a major contributor to life of our community and the suddenness of his passing was devastating. It also raised questions that often accompany profoundly sorrowful, life-altering events. Why did God let this happen? What could have been done to avoid this? Where was God? Where is God?
Legitimate Job questions in a legitimate Job moment.
There are no good answers to these questions—at least none that quell our confusion during times of loss and distress. And part of our struggle comes with recognizing a profound truth: God is not one of us. By virtue of God’s “higher power” and “creative right” and “sovereign governance” of time and governance, God’s perspective is uniquely God’s own. That doesn’t mean that God isn’t concerned about our emotional, spiritual, and physical welfare. But even how we view those matters is inherently—radically—different.
The gap between God’s knowledge and what we know is so great any time we try to make allowances for it, our acknowledgments tend to sound shallow and unfeeling. For instance, saying “God knows best” to someone in deep pain is technically true. But it offers little or no consolation to the suffering person. If God really knows best, why is this happening? For that, we have no good answer because we simply don’t know. As a friend of mine often puts it, “That’s above my pay grade!”
Job has deflected his friends’ simplistic theology with questions many of us found ourselves asking over the weekend. In this week’s study, God finally shows up and the conversation is, well, a bit one-sided, as God brings Job into the divine realm of responsibility and concern. It’s not an easy read, or an easy answer. Yet I would also argue that accepting there are enormous differences between God and us enables us to recognize there’s a lot more going on than we can see or comprehend. May take our egos a few minutes to learn to live with that. But in the end, I think it helps us reach peaceful acceptance of life’s tragedies, as well as opens our eyes to many miracles we might not otherwise see.
This week we hear from God as our Job study continues. Join us this Thursday at 7:30pm CST to find out what God has to say. (For a sneak peek, read Job 38-40:5.) See you online!