Few people have ever suffered such agonizing loss as the Old Testament character of Job. He literally lost everything but his life. All his kids were killed, and he was so racked with physical pain and ill health that even his closest friends barely recognized him. Yet the most severe suffering of all came from the grinding silence of God about the whole affair. Job felt the spiritual pain of a seemingly distant God: “Why have you made me your mark? Why have I become a burden to you?”
Indeed, when one is in the throes of grief, and God does not respond, the suffering seems pathetically senseless. As I write this, another spate of shootings have this week rocked American towns in the West and Mid-West. Where is God in all this? As families grieve and communities reel in shock, how can the loss of life and safety square with a God who is Sovereign over all creation?
It’s the silence that often hurts so badly. Groans, laments, and anguish seem to fly up and away with no easy answers and no immediate relief. Yet, God hears. God sees. And God knows. We have a big picture perspective of the book of Job. We know the end of the story. We even know why Job suffered, even when he himself never knew. But even with such an understanding, there is still a large mystery to the ways and the silence of God.
It is a great temptation for many Christians to give neatly wrapped answers to life’s most difficult realities. But the book of Job does not allow for it. What we have is a man who never understood all that happened in his life, yet held onto his integrity and his faith in the God he never fully understood. After all, if we understood all there is to understand about God, he would not be God at all.
Invisible God, you are not only unseen physically, but many times spiritually and emotionally unseen, as well. Open the eyes of my heart so that I might catch but a glimpse of your working. Even though I am but a child and know so little, yet I trust in your steadfast love even in the most difficult experiences of life. Amen.