Ask Me More…Where were you?

She said her dad didn’t love anybody.

Not her mom.  Not the kids.  Nobody.

That’s what the girl told my daughter.  And that’s what my daughter told me.

My daughter struggles to understand this invasion of innocence.

We adults slowly learn to cope with the ugly truth about how sin distorts, taints, and breaks.  How this world is hard sometimes, hurtful and messy.

But she’s not accustomed to the pain yet or desensitized to the sadness, so her heart aches for her friend and she struggles with questions and brings them to me:

What does that mean? How come her family isn’t together any more?  Why does that happen to families?  Where will she stay?  Will she still see her dad?

Pain often provokes our questions, too.

There’s something about tragedy that stirs up doubt and wondering.  We want to wrestle with the beasts of injustice and sorrow, trying to make sense of it all with logic and defeat them with some philosophical musings.

But we just don’t know.

We can’t always see why this happened or how it will all work out or what good could come of any of it or what God is doing in the midst of the rubble.

In Scripture, it’s Job that engages in this fight.

We gloss over his pain so quickly as Christians:  Job was a good guy who had bad things happen to him.  Lots of bad things.  Blah blah blah, yeah yeah yeah.

“Bad things” hardly.

His property destroyed, his servants killed, his own body festering with sores, his wife grown bitter, his friends on platforms of self-righteousness……maybe those are “bad things.”

Yet, every single one of his children was killed at once in a freak accident.

If you’ve cradled your own baby in your arms, stroking his cheek with your finger, cooing baby talk, tickling her baby belly, rocking and swaying and humming sweetly, then consider Job’s loss.

Seven sons, three daughters—-dead like a snapping of the fingers.job19

How could he ever breathe again?  No wonder he just wanted to die himself.

So, he ponders and postulates and asks God to explain Himself.  He longs to put God on trial and pose the questions with God on the witness stand.

“Where were you?” Maybe that’s what Job longed to ask God and have answered.

Yet, God never answers all of Job’s questions, not in this life anyway.

Instead, God lets Job pour out all of that bitterness and hurt, knowing perhaps that what we need most in sorrow is the opportunity to be sorrowful.

Then, God responds, not with answers, but with questions.

Lots of lots of questions.  Chapters and chapters of questions.  Pages and pages of questions.  Just about 60 in all.

But here’s the bottom line:

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding… (Job 38:4 NASB)

Was Job there when God parted the seas from the land or set the birds in the sky or there as He makes the sun to rise and set every single day as faithfully as our faithful God?

Does Job even know how God makes it rain, or feeds the lions, or transforms water into ice?

The questions bring Job to this place where he looks in a mirror and sees his own limitations.

I don’t know. 

What else could he say?

What else to answer but this:

“Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to You?
I lay my hand on my mouth.
“Once I have spoken, and I will not answer;
Even twice, and I will add nothing more”  (Job 40:3-5 NASB)

So, I confess this to my daughter, “I don’t know, baby girl.”

Sometimes there’s not much else to say.

Yet, there were two things that Job did know:

“As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.  Job 19:25 NASB

and this:

“I know that You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
Job 42:2 NASB

Maybe we don’t always know the answer to “why” or “what now” or “how could this be…”

Still we know this:

Our God lives and will return one day in victory to redeem us and to redeem this broken world.

and

God can do anything  There’s nothing too insignificant to escape His notice and nothing too difficult for Him to handle.

When God asks us questions, we might not always know the answers, but we know He does.  That’s the simplicity and the challenge of faith.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

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