Moving beyond “why?”

We have all said it when confronted by disappointment. What elicited our question? Was it just an unexpected event or something much more significant? What is certain is we did not like it and we asked, “Why?”

When shallow platitudes are insufficient, “why” can consume massive amounts of our time and energy. Yet resolving it can remain as elusive as ever. Job can help us move beyond asking why to something more productive.

In spite of Job and his friends spending about 30 chapters wrangling over why he had suffered so, the book makes it clear that answering this question is not what is most important. Consider what we learn.

The first couple of chapters explain exactly why Job suffers. We, the readers, know the reason. Satan desires to prove that Job serves God for merely self-serving interests.

We would expect when God finally spoke, after Job’s and his friends’ intense discussion about why, God would reveal Satan’s purposes. God did not. As far as the book reveals, Job never knew why.

It seems one lesson we are to take away from Job is that knowing why is not what matters most. So where should our energy be focused? Job delivers.

The bigger question is, what will Job do when life goes differently than he wants? Will Job curse God? Will he remain devoted to God?

In view of life’s disappointments, challenges and suffering, what are we going to do? This question can refocus our energy and provide direction. Will we allow crises to drive us away from God? Will we determine that God is worthy of devotion anyway?

Disappointment and suffering can arise from a great many sources. In many cases we may never know why. We can, however, spend our time and energy profitably by focusing on what we are going to do. Drawing closer to God would be a good start.


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