It is a question that pierces to the heart of our being. Why do we serve God? This question deserves to remain at the forefront of our minds. However, another question can dominate our thinking.
This latter question capable of compulsively gripping our minds pushing all other thoughts away frequently appears when disaster wrecks havoc upon our lives. What happens next depends upon what lies deep within our hearts.
Of course, we all know what that latter question is. Our almost instinctive response to suffering involves asking the ubiquitous why question. God, why did you bring this illness? Why didn’t you stop these things from ruining my life? Why did my loved one have to die? The question might differ in its details, however the message is the same. In the midst of being overwhelmed with feelings of confusion, angst and anger, our hearts can cry out, if you are a good God why did you cause this to happen?
This is exactly the question that Job and his three friends will argue about for twenty-four chapters. The three friends are certain they understand. Their approach in trying to help Job involves attempting to force him into their concept of how God must always work. Job denies their premise that he is suffering because he has sinned. Furthermore, Job responds to their accusations by claiming that God has made a huge mistake in bringing this suffering upon him because he has done nothing worthy to deserve it.
This brings us to the critical fork in the road revealing what lies deep within our hearts. Some people abandon God. They fill their hearts with rage as they denounce God: I don’t want to serve any God who would allow this to happen! Others take the other fork in the road by hanging onto God in their tattered state, in spite of their confusion, disillusionment, anger or profound grief.
What we discover from the book of Job is that the two questions, “Why do we serve God?” and “Why did this happen to me?” are the central questions of two different stages. While humanity becomes preoccupied with why did this happen, the truly important question is being asked in heaven, why does this person serve God?
Our adversary believes people serve God for the shallow reason of self-centered benefit. Take away the blessings and people will curse God. This was his charge against Job. And sometimes this is exactly how people react. Malachi 3:14 records the words of those who only see value in serving God if you can get what you want.
Is God worthy or honor, glory and praise regardless whether we are blessed or suffer? Scripture responds with a resounding Yes! God is just, even if we can not see that final justice right now. God is love and has demonstrated his love in the most profound way in order to rescue us from condemnation and grant us life as his people. God is the Creator to whom we owe our very existence.
All may not be now as it ought to be. Nevertheless, God is worthy of our devotion.
The lingering question confronts each of us, why do we serve God? This is a question we need to answer before the crucible of trial arrives to reveal what lies deep within our hearts.