What Unanswered Questions Teach Us

Whitney Capps

Day: 26 | Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Today’s Reading: Job 26

Job 26:14 (NIV) “And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of his power?”

Suffering has a way of dredging up all kinds of questions. What is God doing? Why did He let this happen? What will tomorrow be like? Is this the worst of it? What should I do? What are people thinking? Can God really use this for my good?

And the truth is, in the midst of suffering we rarely get answers to these questions, at least not right away. But is it possible that even unanswered questions have a purpose? Can questions for which we don’t have answers actually teach us something? Can what we don’t know actually strengthen our faith? I think Job 26 says, “yes.”

The chapter begins rather bleakly. Job uses sarcasm to highlight his friends’ failure at sharing encouragement. After all their speeches and words, Job has gained neither wisdom nor hope.

Seemingly exasperated, Job changes course mid-speech. He begins to describe the attributes and glorious works of God. Job says God holds the world and keeps it suspended over nothingness. He spread the sky over the heavens. He fills the clouds with water yet they do not burst with the weight. He sets the boundary between heaven and earth, dark and light.

And all of these majestic works, according to Job, are just a faint whisper of the wonder of God. What Job knows about God is only the fringe of the glory of Who He is and all He can do. What Job is saying here is so, so valuable for us as we suffer. What we know about God can point us to all we don’t know about God.

When we look at all that God can do — the supreme power He shows over nature, the care He demonstrates for the world, the power He holds in His hands — we remember the bigness of God. He is beyond us, and He knows what we don’t. Consequently there will be things about Him we simply won’t understand and questions we won’t have answers for. But maybe, just maybe, that’s a good thing.

What if we could know everything about God? What if we perfectly understood what He was doing as He did it? What if we could predict His every move? What if He made sense to us? Would He really be God? I don’t think so.

God’s mystery is part of His majesty.

I think that’s what Job is trying to say. When we wrestle with questions prompted by suffering, we are reminded there is One who knows every answer, even, and especially when we don’t. And while we may not know the answers, we know the Answer-Giver.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we are people who want to know the answer to every question. Thank You for questions, even the ones You choose not to answer yet. Remind me that what You have revealed, what we know about You, is only a whisper of Your glorious works. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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What Job is describing in Job 26 are attributes of God. An attribute is something God has... Read More

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