Sometimes we read the book of Job in the Bible and think that the message is that we can’t know or understand why there’s suffering; we just need to trust God and not try to figure it out. But, I think there’s a broader message that encourages us to strive forward in seeking rather than sit back in silence.
Near the end of the story, God humbled Job and his “comforters” — putting them in their place by letting them know that they know relatively nothing. God didn’t provide answers as they probably hoped He would. But, He did provide perspective, His sovereignty, and Himself. He offered Himself up to be trusted.
Perhaps Job and the others didn’t get all of the answers they were looking for, but they got all of what God offered up, and that’s no small thing. That’s not God being condescending; that’s God being God. There’s only so much our limited minds can grasp, and God is gracious in light of that.
But, wait — there’s more. God does provide one important answer in Job 42:7. And, it’s not just an answer; it’s an invitation for them to keep wrestling with the issue. “The Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, ‘My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right as My servant Job has.’” God didn’t participate in a Q&A session as they might have liked, but He did affirm what Job claimed to be true about God. That says a lot. Perhaps God’s response can be summed up this way: You have such an incredibly long way to go in knowledge and understanding, but Job has taken a step in the right direction. Keep going in that direction.
For all of the answers we think we have, we still know relatively nothing. Granted. But, that doesn’t mean that we don’t ask, seek, and knock. It’s important, though, whom we ask, what we seek, and which door we knock on.
Let’s remember what Jesus said in Matthew 7:7-11. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, it will be opened. What man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a snake? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”
When we ask God, when we seek Truth (who is God), and when we knock on His door, He will give us as much as we can take in at once. We’d be foolish to ask, seek, and knock only once.
God didn’t tell Job and the others to shut up because they know nothing and can’t possibly know anything. He told them that what Job knew was a drop in the bucket, and He graciously affirmed that little drop of knowledge.
We’re maturing children with a loving Father. We learn as we grow. If we’re growing in God, we know and understand more than we did a year ago. Five years from now — if we continue to ask, seek, and knock — we’ll know and understand more than we do now. We never “arrive” because God alone has unlimited knowledge and comprehension. But, throughout eternity, we’ll know and understand more and more. That will be one of the gifts of everlasting life.