Question Marks

Job 38:1-11; 42:1-6

Author John Kramp writes about a young friend of his named Matt:  “When Matt was five, he spent the weekend at our house while his parents were away.  If a count had begun on Friday night and ended on Sunday afternoon, Matt’s questions would have easily hit four digits.  I am not talking about easy-to-answer questions.  Oh no, Matt specialized in the unanswerable:

What if a space ship lands on the hood of the car while we’re driving?

What if Superman is driving that eighteen wheeler over there?

What if pirates attack our car?

What if a tree falls on the house while we’re gone?

On Saturday afternoon, while waiting for a movie to start, I tried to distract Matt temporarily.  Catching him mid-breath, I said, ‘Matt, how did you get to be so smart?’  Without missing a beat, he gave me a self-assured look and said, ‘I ask a lot of questions.’”  (Out of Their Faces and Into Their Shoes, pp.25, 26.)

At the end of Job’s epic story, God reveals himself out of a storm (38:1).  And the answer He gives Job is… more questions.  That would seem to frustrate most, but not Job.  His response?  ”

Then Job replied to the LORD:2 “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.  3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.  4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’
5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.  6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”

Question marks are some of the most difficult thing for us to deal with as humans.  We want all mysteries solved.  We want all gossip chased down and confirmed.  We want the “why” of our existence revealed to us in explicit detail.  I remember speaking at the funeral of a teenager in Cloverdale, CA.  In front of a crowd composed of most of the small town I said:  “It is hard when we face a tragedy like this to not ask questions of God.  We want answers.  But I imagine that if by some divine miracle we were given the answer today… we would not hurt less.  What we need today is not answers from God… but the knowledge that God is here.”

Author John Fisher once wrote: “This morning I counted 288 question marks in the book of Job.  Many were from the mouth of Job; others were spoken by his counselors who turned out to be much like the side-show con artists of the day.  “Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?”  God said of them.  But surprisingly, when God finally speaks in the closing chapters- 78 of them, to be exact.  Of the 288 question marks in the book of Job, 78 of them belong to God; they are His answer to Job.

Sometimes God answers us with questions- questions that leave us humbled, awed, speechless, weak, and believing- believing not because we’ve found the answer, but because we’ve seen God.  It doesn’t matter that we have more questions than when we started.  It matters that we see God, for in the seeing, we discover that the truest answer to all our questions is to worship Him.  (Real Christians Dance, p. 14)

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