Why, God, Why?

Why, God, Why? September 17, 2012


Pain, both physical and emotional, offers pastors arather grim sort of job security. It’s everywhere, and it’s our God-givencalling to help. Rarely do I feel less adequate, however, than when I’m askedto explain why. Why did this happen? Why to me? Why is it lasting so long? Whywon’t God answer? Even Job questioned God: “Why have you made me your mark? Whyhave I become a burden to you?” (7:20) “Why do you hide your face and count meas your enemy?” (13:24)

I’m always comforted, and a little surprised, to seehow God finally answers Job’s questions. He doesn’t say, “Job, you’re innocent.What you don’t know is that Satan challenged me, and I took him up on it.You’ve been caught in the middle while I proved a point to my enemy. But don’tworry about it. In a few years, you’ll get everything back.” No, instead Godsays, “Job, you don’t understand 99% of what I have made. You can’t do 99% ofwhat I do. Are you sure you want to try to counsel me on the best way to runyour life? No, I’m not going to give you all your answers, but I will give youa deeper sense of Me.” And for the next 15 minutes, Job’s head pounds and hisheart quakes as God speaks. 

God’s closing argument is Leviathan, a sea monster ofmythical power and ferocity. Earlier, Job had confessed, “What I feared hascome upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me” (3:25). To us, Leviathan isthat catastrophe we hope we never experience. It’s the disaster we dread thatsometimes keeps us awake at night. And far too often, it actually appears outof nowhere, chews us up, spits us out, and then goes on its merry way. We can’tfight it off, and we can’t possibly explain it. God could, if He wanted to; butHe usually chooses not to—not, at least, in this life. What He does instead isreveal Himself to us in ways deeper than we ever imagined before.

See, our Leviathan is also God’s Leviathan. He usesLeviathan—summons it and unleashes it and then sends it away—to do Hismysterious, inexplicable bidding. But our Leviathan is also God’s Leviathan inthat at the cross, He was mauled by it, too, for us. And that really issomething hard to explain.