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“Why, God?” Devotion on the Commemoration of Job

As we remember Job today, we consider how God carries us through our suffering too. We do not suffer alone. Our devotion comes from Why Did This Happen to Me?

Devotional Reading

The primary quest of the Book of Job may be stated in the query “why?” The capacity to ask why is one of the things that sets apart the human creature from other creatures. “Why did this happen to me?” This was the heartrending question Job phrased in so many different ways all through this treatise before us. Our Lord Himself, in the reality of His true humanity, phrased the question while under the torturous agony of the cross: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:34). This is the question each of us, at one time or another, has screamed into apparently cold and gray skies. “Why?”

Some people get no further than this excruciating query and live the rest of their lives under the shadow of that twisted question mark. They make for themselves a veritable hell on earth. Most of us are too sophisticated to blame God in the same manner as Job so brazenly did. So we blame ourselves and live perpetually in despair.

Our Lord also asked “why?” but before He breathed His last on the cross, He turned the apparent tragedy of His crucifixion into a basis for universal blessing with the song of victory: “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit!” (Luke 23:46). It is in this act that we discover the key to the proper and beneficial response to our suffering. It is true that Christ’s sufferings were on behalf of others, but they also came as a consequence of living in this distorted world. Though the purpose of Christ’s suffering is not the same as ours, there is some design and purpose to our suffering. This was true in the life of Job, whom the writer regarded as blameless and upright before God. It is most certainly true in our lives, though we dare not claim these virtues.

“Why did this happen to me?” It really isn’t so important that we find the answer to that question. We probably never will. What is important is that it did happen—and other things will happen—and something must be done about it. In the last analysis, the only way to deal with it is to accept it, acquiesce to it, no longer rebelling against it or questioning bitterly why it sought us out, but with open hearts and minds receiving whatever muted message it may bring.

“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed,” wrote Paul, “perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies” (2 Corinthians 4:8–10). So there is design and purpose even in our suffering, and between the suffering that comes our way and our great and loving God is the promise that nothing will touch us save it first pierce the circle of His tender love. We can assure ourselves of this eternal love by praying, as our Lord prayed at the peak of His horrible agony, “Father, into Your hands I commit My Spirit!” (Luke 23:46).

Devotional reading is adapted from Why Did This Happen to Me?, pages 12–15 © 1977 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Hymn

In God, my faithful God,
I trust when dark my road;
Great woes may overtake me,
Yet He will not forsake me.
My troubles He can alter;
His hand lets nothing falter.

“So be it,” then, I say
With all my heart each day.
Dear Lord, we all adore You,
We sing for joy before You.
Guide us while here we wander
Until we praise You yonder.

Hymn text is LSB 745:1, 5.

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