“Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: ‘Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?’ ” (Job 38:1,2).
THROUGHOUT HIS AFFLICTIONS, JOB MAINTAINED HIS FAITH, BUT BEFORE THE ORDEAL WAS OVER HE DEVELOPED A DEMANDING SPIRIT THAT WAS NOT PLEASING TO GOD. As most of us do when the long haul has become so long that we’re nearly exhausted, Job began to be more and more insistent that God explain the reason for his suffering. He didn’t go so far as to question God’s righteousness, but he did start to sound as if he was irritated at God.
When our hardships are not alleviated in what we think is a reasonable time, and especially when we don’t understand why we should be suffering in the first place, almost all of us begin to grow impatient. In our impatience we become demanding, and in our demanding frame of mind we often begin to say things that go beyond our understanding. We speculate about matters known only to God, and we come close to putting Him on notice that He’d better remove our pain or tell us why not. When Job made his arguments and laid down his demands, he spoke of things he had very little understanding of. And when he finally realized how presumptuously he had spoken about God, he was humiliated: “. . . I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know” (Job 42:3).
God is indeed the Giver of gifts and the Answerer of questions. For those with Job’s faith, there can be no doubt about this fact. But God’s wisdom far exceeds our own, and so His gifts and His answers are not always supplied according to our timetable. When we’re faced with either God’s “inaction” or His “silence,” we need to hold our tongue and also watch our attitude. After all, it is not the gifts or the answers of God that we seek; it is God Himself. We know that He has our greatest good at heart and can be counted on to act in infinite, powerful love. (At least we know these things if we’ve considered what happened at the Cross.) We know also that whether God deems it wise to share with us the answer to every question, He knows the answer. Not only does He know the answer, but He is the answer! The fact that He will give Himself to us is far, far more than enough.
“Lust means ‘I must have it at once.’ Spiritual lust causes me to demand an answer from God, instead of seeking God Himself who gives the answer” (Oswald Chambers).