Written by William Hagenbuch
Job says, "My complaint today is still a bitter one, and I try hard not to groan aloud." - Job 23:2
Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, once said, "We run this company on questions, not answers." Eric knows if you keep asking questions you can keep finding better answers.
The same can be said for the book of Job. This script is loaded with good questions, profound questions. Why does life hurt? Why is there suffering?
Do we give God enough credit when it comes to asking questions? Too often we bail on God too soon. We also we jump out of our ability to ask God the Big Questions too soon. Yes, in the face of a tragedy like this latest college campus shooting in Roseburg, Oregon, we can—and we should—ask God, "Why did this happen?"
When the pain subsides however, or when an old headline of sorrow is replaced by a new one, we recycle the same question we had the last time. We don't get better at our questions; we just repeat the one we had before.
Here's a challenge I invite you to consider. Hold onto the "Why is there suffering?" question longer. Go deeper with it. Don't shrug off God with what hurts you. Instead, bring it to the Cosmic Wonder again, and again. When we just skip on, we are not giving God enough credit or value. We also devalue our hurt and our pain. Don't cheat on the Creator. Don't slide over your angst. Ask why. Ask when. Ask how. Ask where. Ask what.
I think the why question is the best question because it's the fuel question. It is the question that usually elicits the most inner emotion, the most heat, and the most passion. It's also the question God answers not in the silence of our minds, but in the stillness of our souls.
Job says he tries hard not to groan aloud. I hope he fails at that. I hope you fail at that, too.
God, sometimes I give in too soon. I move along without really giving you time to answer. Today, I invite you to do what you've done in the past, and that's hang in there with me. Amen.
Will Hagenbuch is the pastor of First Congregational UCC, Harford, PA. He is the author of the novel, Jesus Cloned, coming from Archway Publishing in 2016.