Have you ever wanted to dump a list of tough questions on God? Would “where were you when…” be among them?
You wouldn’t be the first to consider asking God this one.
In fact, yesterday I wrote about a top 10 song by The Fray dedicated to this exact line of questioning. But members of The Fray are far from the first fellas brave enough to ask these questions out loud. In fact, their lyrics seem ripped straight from the pages of Job.
In the midst of exceedingly difficult circumstances, Job begins to wonder why God hasn’t intervened. Check it out:
“I cry to you, O God, but you do not answer;
I stand up, but you merely look at me.
You turn on me ruthlessly;
With the might of your hand you attack me
You snatch me up and drive me before the wind;
You toss me about in the storm” (Job 30:20-22).
Job’s friends do their best to answer his questions, but they fall short in the face of such tough stuff. But God does not. In chapter 38 God steps in with an answer that quickly puts Job’s perspective back in place.
“The Lord answered Job out of the storm, He said:
‘Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?
Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.
Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were it’s footings set, or who laid its cornerstone while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?
Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness,
when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place,
when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves will halt’…”
For 123 verses God goes on to ask Job where he was when He was creating all that exists.
He asks Job if he’s entered the storehouses of snow in verse 38:22, and who the lightning bolts report to in verse 38:35. He mentions the creation of the behemoth in 40:15 and the leviathan in 41:1 (how’s that for fantastic?). For verse after verse he talks about the wonders of creation and repeatedly asks Job where he was when it was all being formed.
His point? He is God and Job is not.
Guess what? Thousands of years later, He is still God and we are still not.
And in the midst of a world that seems to have spun beyond God’s control, when times are really hard and our temptation is to wonder if God truly cares about our circumstances, these passages stand as an important reminder of our humble position before a holy, eternal, indescribable God.
Job finally got it and he was thrown into fierce repentance. His words back to God show us that the light bulb went off above his head.
In Job 42:1 we read,
“Then Job replied to the Lord;
‘I know that you can do all things;
No plan of yours can be thwarted.’”
The next time I find myself in the middle of the storm I hope I will avoid the temptation to throw up a rebel fist and ask God where He has gone. I will remember that the idea that God isn’t really involved in my life or that He comes and goes is a lie and I will choose to replace that lie with God’s liberating Truth.
He is able to do all things
His plans for me cannot be thwarted.