This is actually a post from a previous week that I never got around to writing. We’re studying Job at our Ladies Bible Study, so I was reminded about an occasion where we discussed Job and God at our house.
Setting: The house
Characters: Mom, Three darling children
Conflict: Children all want to understand WHY before they obey, not after.
Crisis: One child disobeying because he didn’t understand why.
Denouement [i.e., resolution]:
I explained that Job in the Bible didn’t understand what God was doing in his life, either. He thought that God was punishing him, and he was downright frustrated because he had no idea why.
My David was intrigued by this conflict. I asked him if he wanted to know how God answered him when He demanded that God tell him why he was doing what he was doing.
David assented, and I read most of Job 38, and some of 39. I read especially the questions that I knew he would be interested in, particularly the bird imagery.
God asked Job if he understood why God made some animals smart, and others dumb. Some birds take care of their young better than others. God decided. He wasn’t punishing the dumb animals and especially pleased with the smart ones. David knows birds, so the bird imagery made a lot of sense to him.
“Does the hawk fly by your wisdom,
And spread its wings toward the south?
27 Does the eagle mount up at your command,
And make its nest on high?
28 On the rock it dwells and resides,
On the crag of the rock and the stronghold.
29 From there it spies out the prey;
Its eyes observe from afar.
30 Its young ones suck up blood;
And where the slain are, there it is.”
I asked David if God ever answered Job’s questions about why he was suffering. Of course, we know the answer is no. But God did correct Job’s theology. He helped him understand that God is God. He is the only one who makes life work, and we can trust him.
Likewise, God has given parents authority over their children, with specific commands not to abuse that authority. Children do not have to understand everything to obey.
Then I pointed out that God OFTEN explains why do does certain things. God wants us to understand how life works, and we can learn many things from the Bible that help us understand why. The Bereans were praised highly because they wanted to understand better what the apostle Paul was teaching them. Godly moms and dads likewise want to explain why they do what they do. They should have good reasons for their actions, and knowing them helps children as they become adults. Parents are not perfect, and they won’t always be right, but Job’s example teaches us that demanding why before we submit is not the right response when we don’t understand.
David has referred to this discussion twice since then. For some reason it penetrated into his heart. That’s a good thing. Now, may it penetrate into my heart, too! It is sobering to feel the weight of responsibility to use my authority wisely and lovingly.
Is Scripture changing you this week?
I have been thinking on this, not for my children per se, but for my own self and my current desire to ask God why in my own personal loss. I have heard many say Job asked God why, so we can too. But you make a good point. While Job was not admonished, in my understnading for asking, he was never answered. God is God, and that is that. He is not obligated to give us a reason. Sometimes, that makes it hard to accept unnatural losses, but it is a matter of theology, is it not? Sorry, rambling. I need to do some reading and get my own thoughts on virtual paper, methinks.