Job has received the advice of his three friends Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar. They believe that Job's suffering is the result of some unconfessed sin that his condition is a judgment from God. Elihu believes that God is disciplining Job and seeking to teach him through the pain. At the beginning of our story we learned that Satan believes that Job (and us) only believe in God when we are being blessed. Now comes God to speak. What will he have to say about Job's condition and his complaint?
Elihu has pointed out the approaching storm in chapter 36 and indicated that we should behold the greatness of God in the storm. Now God speaks out of that same storm. What must Job be thinking? Remember that it was a storm that caused the death of his children in chapter 1.
"Do you know the secrets of the universe?" Of course, we do not. We ponder and pontificate; we conjecture and develop theories to explain the mysteries that we cannot know. How did the earth come to be? Was it the big bang? How did we come to be? Was it evolution? The mysteries overwhelm us....the litany of whys. How was one saved in the tornado in Joplin and another saved? Why does Paul Splitorff, a man who has always kept himself physically fit, die of a skin cancer and another is healed of their disease. How is a child born with a great physical abnormality, who is believed to have only hours or days to live, become a miracle and another seemingly healthy child taken by SIDS? We do not know the answers, but there is one that we can trust with all of the situations of life.
We have a sense of human justice and fairness that we measure all things by. The good should triumph, the evil vanquished. We should be rewarded for our goodness....the right should be blessed. When that doesn't happen we wonder, where is God in this situation. Here is where we fail in this understanding; God is above any notion of human fairness or justice. He is the standard and nothing that he allows, in his plan, can be above reproach. Because we cannot see its purpose does not negate the possibility that it is in God's plan. Whatever God does is right and just because he is God and no other bears that title or understands the end from the beginning.
Suffering as Job is enduring or as enters into our life should not cause us to doubt God, but rather should cause us to trust God for what he is and not what he does. We honor God, not for the blessing that we hope for but because he is God, author of all life and the keeper of heaven and earth.