When I Don't Know Why

Bible Reading: Job 22; 23; 24 - Listen

Job's friends are getting impatient and angry at Job's claimed innocence. While, at first, they politely suggested that he may be guilty of some hidden sin, now Eliphaz decides he must take a stab at exposing the particulars of Job's "great wickedness" and "endless sin" (22:5).

Though he wrongly accuses Job, Eli does beautifully spell out the restored relationship with God which results from repentance. "Submit to God and be at peace with him…. Accept instruction from his mouth and lay up his words in your heart. If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored.... Surely then you will find delight in the Almighty and will lift up your face to God. You will pray to him, and he will hear you... and light will shine on your ways" (22:21-30). While it is very important to repent of sin and make peace with God, these words simply do not apply to Job's situation. Yet his friends refuse to consider any other reason for Job's misery than his unconfessed guilt.

Despite their condemnation, Job continues to maintain his innocence. The nagging question in his soul remains unanswered: "Why?" If only he could know the reason for his suffering, then he could bear it more patiently. If he could argue his case before God, then his name could be cleared and his honor restored. He wonders why God doesn't set times for judgment (24:1), so that we can at least look forward to a day when we will have an audience with God and our wrongs will be made right. We now know that such a day is coming, when sin will be judged and faith rewarded. (See Mt. 7:22-23; 11:20-24; 12:33-37; 2 Pet. 2:9-10; 3:7-13; 1 Jn. 4:17; Rev. 20:11-15; 21:1-8). As far as we can tell from scripture, Job never did find out the reason for his suffering. We, too, may never know the reason for our trials until our earthly life is over.

Lord, examine my heart and make me aware of anything in my life that causes you sorrow. Purge from my mind any thought or habit that displeases you. When I stand clean before you and my mind still begs to know the reason for my continued pain, may I find peace in the knowledge that your eyes are upon me; you have not forgotten me; you care for my soul. May I stand firm in my faith, strongly resolve to do what is right and daily find nourishment and delight from your word. May I be able to say, with Job, "But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread" (23:10-12).