My dad and his friends often rode the city bus back in the 40s and on this particular day he confidently boarded the wrong one. As the bus driver began his route, my dad yelled with conviction from the back of the bus, “Hey bus driver! You’re going the wrong way!” (I know it’s a true story because his future wife, my mother, was on the bus).

I’m not the least bit like my dad because I would never yell from the back of a bus, or even question a bus driver. Why then, when unpleasant or unexpected things happen, do I question my loving Shepherd’s wisdom as if to tell Him He’s going the wrong way? I also find myself questioning His love for me, what I did to deserve this, and what possible good could come out of it.

Here are 3 reminders Job offers:

1. When we want to know, “What did I do?” we’re reminded our suffering isn’t all about us, but about God’s glory. 

Job never really found out why all these horrible things happened to him. In Job’s words, “Tell me what charges you have against me.” (10:2) 

Attempts to figure out the reason behind suffering are often futile and potentially harmful. Especially when we try to pin it to someone’s sin, like Job’s friends did. (Yes, we should examine ourselves and turn from sin, but we will never know if that was the cause.)

Job’s attack began as Satan hurled an accusation at God: “Does Job fear You for nothing? You’ve blessed him so abundantly, but take it all away and I bet he’ll curse You to your face.” God did take it all away, but Job refused to curse God – praising Him instead. What amazing glory that must have given God.

2. When we think, “This doesn’t feel like love,” we’re reminded that though we face countless losses we’ll never lose God’s love.

News of three staggering losses blindsided Job but he remained confident God was still there. Though everything could eventually be stripped from him, Job put his faith and hope in his Creator. “Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him.” (13:15) 

“The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His steadfast love.” Psalm 147:11

3. When we wonder, “What good can come out of this?”  we’re reminded that suffering introduces us to more of God.

Job 42: 5-6 “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.”  

When would we ever get to know God as our Comforter if we didn’t suffer? Would we ever see him as Shepherd if we knew the way? We might never realize God is our Provider unless we face overwhelming needs. Job went from knowing about God to actually knowing Him through suffering. 

My husband has Parkinson’s and suffered a setback last week from his recent Deep Brain Stimulation. This, his second infection, was a huge disappointment as he really benefits from the procedure. On top of that, we needed to cancel a trip – for the second time – to visit grandchildren on the mission field.

I want to ask, “Why?” but Job and these consoling lyrics by Larnell Harris reveal the hard truth that life’s storms are a necessary element in knowing God:

If not for the storms
I couldn't say you were my shelter
If not for the storms
I would’ve never known your strength
I found You so faithful
Through all that You allow
If not for the storms
There's no way I'd know You
As I know You now
~ Larnell Harris

“He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” Psalm 23:3

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