When in doubt 

Have you ever found yourself doubting the goodness of God? Or at the very least wondering what on earth God is doing? Maybe you’re in a tough season. Maybe someone close to you is. And you know that God is sovereign, that He has a plan and that His plan is good. But you just can’t see it. And so, you cry out to God for an explanation, thinking that if you could only understand what God was doing, you would be satisfied.  

In the OT we find the story of Job, an upright man who faces a series of hardships and wants answers from God. He’s lost his livestock and servants, sons and daughters, and his health (Job 1,2). For the most part He remains faithful to God through each painful situation, even when his wife and friends tell him to curse God. Until finally he’s has had enough. Job’s confused by his circumstances. It makes no sense to him. Hasn’t he lived a blameless and upright life? (Job 1:8) Doesn’t he deserve God’s blessings, not his wrath? He does not understand what is happening to him and he wants answers from God. In fact, he demands answers.  

So, Job mounts a defence. He comes before God with a list of all the good and righteous things he has done such as being faithful to his wife, caring for the poor and fatherless, and not rejoicing in his enemy’s destruction (Job 29,31). He lays all of this before God, as if God needs to be informed. And in doing so Job accuses God of acting unjustly toward him. He believes that he has lived a good life and he deserves better.  

What is God’s reply? Perhaps not what we might expect. God could have defended his part in Job’s suffering. He could have said “Well, Satan and I were chatting and he said this about you and I said that about you and so I said he could do such and such to you…..” But God doesn’t do that. Instead, God goes on to paint a vast and awesome picture of Himself and His complete wisdom, control and justice over all of creation. His knowledge and care as both Creator and Sustainer are detailed and intimate.  

God speaks of laying the foundations of the earth, marking its dimensions, ordering the seas where to go and fixing its limits. He speaks of controlling the sun, snow, hail, lightening, wind, rain, storms and stars (Job 38). God then moves on to the vast array of animal species He provides for. His intimate knowledge of each one’s behaviour is astonishing. And His delight in them is clear (Job 38–41) 

Job’s response to God’s words is, rightly so, one of repentance and adoration. “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore, I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:5,6.  

Maybe we can relate to Job. When we see a friend who loves and follows and serves God really struggling, we can find ourselves questioning God. We want an explanation. But perhaps, like Job, an explanation is not what we need. But rather, a bigger picture of who God is; of His wisdom, His provision, His control and His love.  

Job 38 – 41 is an amazing insight into the wisdom and complete sovereignty of God over His world. I would encourage you to grab a cup of coffee, find somewhere comfortable to sit, and read and reflect on God’s words to you. It is my prayer that you would be satisfied in Him alone.