When GOd is Silent
GOd didn't answer JOb.
The majority of the chapters in the Book of Job deal with Job’s one question: Why did this happen to me? Job had done nothing wrong. He had defended righteousness and opposed sin. Why, then, were all his children killed, all his possessions stolen, and all his health taken away?
At the end of the book, God never really answers Job. His response basically comes down to, “I am God.” Some people have interpreted this to be the snobby response of an arrogant, capricious god who dislikes being questioned. I don’t think this is the case, because it is utterly inconsistent with the rest of Scripture. I see a God who loves intensely, to the point of embracing immeasurable pain and humiliation to save us the same fate. That’s not the response of a god who maintains his own superiority.
I’m still puzzled by God’s response to Job. He doesn’t say, “Your pain is purposeful, and is accomplishing some great spiritual work in you that would be possible no other way.” He doesn’t say, “Your pain is meant to be an example to future generations of Christian sufferers.” He doesn’t even tell Job that his suffering is a result of a conversation between Himself and the devil.
I think Christians spend too much time trying to interpret why God seems so unfair to Job. I just accept that He did what He did, and that He ultimately rewarded Job’s faithfulness. In a way, that’s all I'm called to do when I question my own suffering. I accept that God is Who He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
God didn't answer Jesus.
Jesus cried with all the breath he could muster, as he slowly strangled on the cross: “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?”
I don’t think Jesus said this just because it was prophesied that He would say this, or because it would demonstrate His agony. I think He cried it from the depths of His being. In all of time, He had never been abandoned by His Father, the one He loved most. He had never done anything to deserve rejection, but had obeyed perfectly. It was a real question: Why have You forsaken me?
And God did not answer Him. Jesus died utterly alone. The fact that Jesus knew this would happen, that the salvation of the world required this, did not lessen the horrific reality of Jesus’ worst nightmare coming true. And God would not even give the comfort or reassurance of an answer. God did not answer His only Son, in the midst of His Son’s greatest suffering.
It’s mind-boggling to me. If the story ended there, the injustice of it would boil the blood of the mildest person. But the whole story tells, not of injustice, but of perfect justice; not of mercilessness, but of infinite mercy. God’s silence was somehow part of a plan to save millions of souls.
GOd doesn't owe me answers.
If God would not answer Job, the most righteous man of his day, and if God would not answer His Son, the one He loved best, then who am I to expect answers? If He gives an answer, I can be glad. If He does not give an answer, He has not treated me differently than He has treated others whom He loves.
Perhaps there will be no explanations this side of Heaven. I don’t deny that that can be immensely frustrating at times. But when God does not answer the questions of Job or Jesus, the Scripture records that God’s actions ultimately respond with faithfulness, love, and mercy. The question “Why?” is always answered with “I love you.”
So when God is silent, I always come back to the assurance that God is good (Matthew 19:17), that He is relentlessly for me (Romans 8:31), and that He loves me (Romans 5:8).
His Word is never silent on those points.
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None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.