Every now and then, when I’m procrastinating at my desk or filling time while waiting in line at the grocery store, my mind begins to wander a bit. Or, more aptly, it wonders. I start to think up questions I wish I knew the answer to like “Why did God make the sky blue instead of, say, red or purple?”
There really is no end to the things we can wonder about, right? I’m sure Google could tell me the answer, but who actually knows what the difference is between a crocodile and an alligator? Why do humans have an appendix if we can live perfectly fine without one? Or what is it about onions that makes people cry?
Even with the miracle of the internet and abundant information at our fingertips, it sometimes feels like there’s so much we don’t know. And that there’s so many more questions than there are concrete answers. Such as: why is there so much violence in this world? Or why do bad things happen to good people? Or, maybe even more importantly, why do bad things happen at all?
“Why” is such a powerful yet frustrating word. Sometimes there are actual facts that could explain a question like, “Why does seeing someone yawn make you yawn?” But other times, no amount of Googling can come up with an answer for why our hearts can keep pumping blood even while they feel so broken.
So whenever I feel frustrated with my lack of adequate answers, I remind myself of the story of Job. Job was a good, faithful man whose life gets turned upside down. He loses his family, his health, and his sense of joy in life. And in the midst of it all, Job cries out to God asking, “Why!? Why has all this happened to me?”
But my favorite part of the story is God’s response. God doesn’t point Job to facts and figures, or to a Wikipedia page that explains life in great, informative detail. God doesn’t actually answer Job’s question at all.
Instead, God responds with a whole flurry of questions. “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” God asks rhetorically. “Have you ever traveled to where snow is made or seen the vault where hail is stockpiled? Don’t for a minute imagine these marvels just happen!” God continues.
And for good measure: “Who do you think set the wild donkey free or gave the horse its shimmering mane?” and dozens more questions like those. None of which explains Job’s pain philosophically. But all of which reminds Job that he has the care and attention of a God who also created the stars and put them in their place.
Unfortunately, we don’t always end up with satisfactory answers for our questions of “Why?” But, thankfully, there’s always another question we can ask — “Who?” Who has created us and loved us? Who promises to walk with us through the valleys and celebrate beside us on our best days? Who vows that one day — in this life or the next — every tear will be wiped away and every life will find joy? It’s God, of course — perhaps the best possible answer to any question we might ask.