“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind: 2 “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? 3 Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me. 4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.” (Job 38:1-4)
The book of Job deals with the thorny question of whether God is just, in light of all the suffering in the world.
In the story, Job had lost everything: his material possessions, his home and family, and his own physical well-being. Still, Job refuses to believe he has done anything to deserve such heartbreak, although his friends try to convince him otherwise. Throughout the story, Job concedes that God is the source of every good and every calamity, and although Job claims God as his Redeemer, he begins to question if God is just.
Chapters 38 and 39 of Job, from which the reading above is taken, are some of my favorite verses in the Old Testament. After Job experiences misfortune and suffering, he demands a council with God, and it is in these chapters that God answers Job.
Among other things, God asks Job, “Have you entered into the springs of the sea, or walked in the recesses of the deep?” (Job 38:16) “Have the gates of death been revealed to you, or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?” (Job 38:17) “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades, or loose the cords of Orion?” (Job 38:31)
Essentially, God shows Job that neither Job, nor anyone else, is in a position to question God’s judgement. The world is far too complex, and the depth of God’s reasoning is far beyond our power to comprehend.
One night this past week, I took the opportunity to search the night sky for the comet Neowise. Neowise, which was discovered by astronomers on March 27, is the brightest comet to appear in the northern hemisphere in years. With a little instruction from the internet, I had no trouble finding comet with a set of binoculars.
Neowise did not disappoint. Even at 64 million miles away it was quite impressive with its brilliant tail of dust and gases. Still, even more impressive was looking straight up into the heavens and being overwhelmed by the thousands upon thousands of stars and realizing that there are billions more stars that are not visible from our vantage point here on earth.
The truth is, we do have worries and concerns in this lifetime, however, when you begin to question the vastness of God, the sovereignty of God, the understanding of God, or the justice of God, then step outside on a cloudless night and look up into the heavens, and let yourself be overwhelmed by the God who might ask, where were you when I placed Neowise in the heavens and set it on its path? It is surprising the different perspective you get when you look heavenward.
By the way, if you missed your opportunity to see Neowise, not to worry, astronomers say it will be back for another appearance in roughly 6,800 years.
God’s blessings on your journey,