One of the Scripture readings the other day was from the book of Job, chapter 38. Despite having read and studied Job numerous times, a particular phrase caught my attention this time through.
Job has been questioning God for most of the book. He has repeatedly asserted his innocence against his friends’ accusations of guilt. And he has frequently asked God to give him a hearing, to explain to him why he is being tormented. Here, in chapter 38, God shows up to respond to Job. Speaking out of the storm, this is what God says:
“Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you and you will answer me.”
After 38 chapters of Job asking questions of God, often from a position of despair, now God will ask questions of Job.
Funny, isn’t it?
Job has dared to protest to his Creator, has begged for an audience. Now he gets exactly what he has asked for but not at all what he expected.
I like to picture God, a twinkle in his eye, speaking these words to Job.
Why a twinkle in his eye?
Well, the Bible repeatedly tells us that God is our father. Good parents often do things and demand things that puzzle their children. They understand a bigger reality than the child does. So God, like a good parent, holds back a smile as he in good Socratic form, responds to Jobs questions with a series of questions.
That is comforting because I, like Job, have spent a fair amount of time questioning God—his ways in the world, his action or lack thereof—you name it. And I know, that although I, like Job, do not have the big picture, God must have a reason for what I observe. It is good to know that God does not get angry. He is not offended by Job’s questions or cranky that he has to take time out of his schedule to address Job, or me. And thanks to information that I have, that Job was not privy to, I know that I can take all my fears, questions, and uncertainties before the throne of grace, knowing that the One who is like me in every way, except for sin, hears and has compassion on my child-like concerns.