Since Ama left off posting with her questions about the book of Job, I found time to dabble around in the book a bit and had to laugh at myself. Here I was searching the pages, thinking, “Why did this happen to Job?” and upon rereading, I thought, “Huh, that’s exactly what the characters in the book are doing: they are asking why and trying to answer why.” How ironic.
Why is it so hard to figure out why Job suffers? I’m getting the sense that it is the wrong question. God does speak in the book, and in quintessential Jesus Christ style, he ignores their questions. Instead, he tells Job something about who He is, specifically who He is compared with Job. He changes the question from why to who. And admit it, who is a hands-down cooler question, first because it can be answered and second because God’s answer takes us on a romp through his creative genius.
I am aware of many beautiful explanations of Job’s suffering that seem compelling and water-tight. I’ve heard speeches. I’ve made speeches, metaphorically, meaning I’ve tried to answer the question before and thought what I said made sense. And yet, were any of these words heard or spoken any better than what Job’s friends offer? I doubt it. Couldn’t God say of us that we’re just darkening counsel with words without knowledge? I suspect he would. Job’s friends say a lot of wise things, and yet, God remains unimpressed.
So the introduction of the book where we peek into the heavenly courts doesn’t satisfy the question of why Job suffers. Job’s speeches and the speeches of his friends don’t satisfy the question of why Job suffers. And I think we’d all agree the recompense at the end ultimately doesn’t satisfy the question of why Job suffers. To be rewarded with more of what he already had before his ordeal? Please. Given the choice, I think Job would have passed if that was the point.
Is it crazy to read Job–at least on some level–as a mirror of my human questioning? Am I way off base here? Maybe the point is that no answer will ever be satisfactory: climb into heaven, claw your way down to hell, scour the whole world, speak with men and angels, and you know what? You still won’t know why. But while you’re on that journey, you just may find out who’s yo’ Daddy. And that is more than enough.