Job 38:1-4 (ESV)
Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said:
“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
Dress for action like a man;
I will question you, and you make it known to me.
Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.”
It occurs to me that when we read Job we make the same error that Job and his friends made. They speak as though the issue was about Job. Job cries out for justice and an explanation. Job’s friends insist that the explanation is that there is unconfessed sin in his life. When God speaks, he doesn’t reference either Job’s physical condition or his spiritual condition. The truth is, it is not about Job. And that is what bothers us the most.
We want life to be about us. It isn’t. We want Job to find relief, but what he really needs to find is God. Like Job, we think and act as though we are the center of the universe. If there is pain in our lives, it must be the consequence of some great sin. If there is pleasure in our lives, it must be that God is pleased with us. “Why me?” is one of the most common prayers uttered around the world. Perhaps God’s answer is, “Why not you?” After all, life is not really about us; we just think it is.
God never answers Job’s question of why. That leaves us feeling unsatisfied. We want to know why. We want to know that Job’s suffering had some higher purpose. We read Job as though it were about suffering, but I am beginning to think that it is not about suffering at all. It is about theology. It is about who we believe God is, and what we believe about him. If we believe that he is the Celestial Servant of mankind, then that question of why Job suffered is the ultimate question of life. If he is the Sovereign Creator, then the question of Job’s suffering is hardly the point. The real question is, who is God?
There is the bottom line. When we insist on answers and explanations, then we have put ourselves in the place of God. When we insist on a gospel that is primarily about feeling good about ourselves, then we have placed ourselves at the center of the universe. Granted, we are the only part of creation that was said to be made in the image of God. Granted, God placed people over the rest of his creation. Granted, we were designed to rule and oversee creation. But, we were not designed to oversee creation as gods. We were designed to oversee creation under God. Ultimately it is all about him.
Does that make him a megalomaniac? Hardly! It makes him creator, designer, sustainer, and upholder of all that exists. Without him we would not be here. Without him this universe would not hold together. The Apostle Paul quotes two Greek poets in Acts 17:28 to make this point. “For ‘In him we live and move and have our being’; as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are indeed his offspring.’” Colossians 1:16 says it like this,
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Bottom line? Life is not about us. Maybe that is the real message of Job. Maybe we would be better off if we could just learn that simple lesson. I am not the center of the universe; nor will I ever be. Bishop Noel Jones wrote a simple chorus around these words, “It's not about us, But it's about Jesus.” His response to this truth follows:
I present my body
A living sacrifice
Unto You now
Everything I am
And everything I'll be
I lay it all at Your feet
May that be my prayer today!