If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that I often suggest that you ask God questions to strengthen your relationship with Him. Like any patient earthly father, our heavenly Father delights in helping us understand the “whats” and “whys” of life. But there comes a time when we reach the outer edge of our ability to understand. When we get to that place, there’s only one thing left to do – and that’s to trust.
The little book that stuck with me
Years ago, I read a little book called Healing in His Presence by Virginia Lively. (It’s out of print now but you can still find used copies or a Kindle edition from the link above.) Jesus appeared to Virginia in 1950, and for several weeks was with her wherever she went. He never spoke; but through facial expressions and body language, He showed her that healing is as valid today as it was 2,000 years ago. Curiously, it’s not the healing part of the book I remember the most. What stuck with me is something she said about being in His presence – it was there that all her questions ceased.
God’s 77 questions
True confessions . . . the book of Job is probably my least favorite in the Bible. The story of loss and suffering can feel overwhelming, but thankfully that’s not all there is to the book. Questions are a big part of the story. Job doesn’t ask questions, but his friends bring up plenty. For most of the book they pontificate about the reasons for Job’s trials, until finally God steps in to ask Job a series of 77 rhetorical questions, none of which he (Job) can answer (see Job chapters 38-41).
Interestingly, God never does answer the question of suffering, but if you look carefully at Job’s response, you’ll see why his questions ceased: Job came to really know God – not just know what others said about Him – but KNOW Him.
Then Job replied to the LORD:Job 42:1-6
I know, LORD, that you are all-powerful; that you can do everything you want.
You ask how I dare question your wisdom when I am so very ignorant.
I talked about things I did not understand, about marvels too great for me to know.
You told me to listen while you spoke and to try to answer your questions.
In the past I knew only what others had told me, but now I have seen you with my own eyes.
So I am ashamed of all I have said and repent in dust and ashes.
Puzzles and fizzles
When we get closer to God, when we sense His majestic, powerful presence (even if we can’t physically see Him like Virginia did), the puzzles of life no longer disturb us, our angry interrogations fizzle out, and we come to a place of quiet submission. In His presence we lose our questions and gain His peace.
It’s a good thing to ask questions, but eventually we will come to the edge of our finite understanding. When that happens, lift up your hands and praise the Almighty God, who knows the beginning and the end and who holds you carefully, lovingly, and securely in the palm of His hand.
Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.John 14:27
When we reach the outer limit of what Scripture says, it is time to stop arguing and start worshipping.J.I. Packer
*Good News Translation® (Today’s English Version, Second Edition) © 1992 American Bible Society. All rights reserved.