The Man Who Dared to Question God

The Bible has many examples of people who feared God, but who were not afraid to question God. Job is one of them.

“Job, did you forgive God?”


Angel Gabriel asked me that question soon after I reached heaven.


“Did you forgive God?”


I had never thought of it like that. But perhaps that is what I did. I ‘forgave God! I prefer to say, “I kept my faith in God.” But when I say that, people misunderstand. They think I simply kept on praising God. They think I stopped crying. They are wrong.


On earth, I don’t think I ever fully got over the loss of my children. I learnt to trust, and even praise God again. But it wasn’t praise with a big smile. It was praise with pain and tears.


People read verse 6 in chapter 42 and they think I accepted God’s answer. But how could I? There was no answer for me to accept. God never answered: Why let me suffer this? Why let my children die?


Instead God drowned me with His questions. Questions I couldn’t answer. Questions God knew I couldn’t answer. Except for one. The question of my faith. The question whether I could still trust God without receiving answers.


I hate not knowing answers. A Jew who suffered in the Holocaust said: “Suffering itself was not the worst thing; the worst thing was the meaninglessness of this suffering.” Suffering that made no sense. Why, Lord, why?


I cried. I argued. I begged. Why this?


For 38 chapters I cried. It seemed like forever.


When did I stop crying? You know, I don’t think I ever really stopped. There were periods when I didn’t cry so much. But then, I would see a boy playing on the street. And I would remember my youngest son. And the tears and questions would start again.


After a while, my eyes stopped crying. But not my heart. My heart never stopped crying. Never stopped wondering why. Never really understood.


So maybe Gabriel was right. Maybe that is what I did. I forgave God for never answering my questions.


It sounds blasphemous, doesn’t it?


Even my three friends then thought I was blasphemous. They meant well, I guess - but, gosh! They made me so angry. I can’t believe how insensitive they were.


“Job, God is testing you,” they said.

What comfort does that bring? Doesn’t God have better things to do than to test me? (7:17)


“Suffering is the way a loving God disciplines and corrects his children.”

Maybe, but how can I be corrected if you don’t tell me what I did wrong? Would a loving Father discipline his child without explaining why? Surely God wouldn’t do that. (10:2)


God does discipline us for our own good, sometimes. God does punish the children He loves, sometimes. But those couldn’t be the reasons why I was suffering.

Don’t misunderstand me. Their theological statements were not wrong. They were quoting verses from Proverbs and Psalms. God does discipline us for our own good, sometimes. God does punish the children He loves, sometimes. But those couldn’t be the reasons why I was suffering. Would any father punish his child without telling him what he was being punished for? Is God a stupid Father? And even if I had sinned, what great sin did I commit which could possibly have deserved the death of my children? Is God cruel? Of course not!


I think they were closer to blasphemy than I was.


Finally they shut up! See Job 42:7. God was angry with them for their stupid answers. And they came to their senses. I hope you never make the mistake they did. Correct theology is wrong if it is not applied correctly. Truth isn’t true unless applied truly.


Hey, that sounded quite good - let me say it again. Correct theology is wrong if it is not applied correctly. Truth isn’t true unless applied truly.


I learned to “forgive” God for not giving me answers. Now I had to forgive my friends who were trying to give me answers. See verses 8-9.


I’m glad I forgave them. Things became much better after that. (See 42:10).


They stopped offering answers to questions they couldn’t answer. Instead, see verse 11: they gave me friendship. Practical help. Bought me dinner. Paid some of my bills. Kept me company.


A friend in need is a friend indeed. Oscar Wilde joked that “A friend in need is a friend to avoid!” Thank goodness my friends didn’t take Oscar seriously! I was a friend in need. And they became my friends in deed.


Where was the Satan?


Oh yes, Gabriel told me about Satan’s challenge in chapter 1. How Satan said that the only reason I loved God was because my life was blessed with riches and earthly comforts. Satan said that I would reject God if earthly suffering were to come my way. And God accepted Satan’s challenge and allowed him to bring those terrible sufferings to my life.


Did I know about this Satanic challenge? No, I never knew. God was silent. He never told me about it.