Job’s Lament: Understanding Suffering and Faith

Episode 444

June 13, 2024

Transcription

Connor:
You’re listening to The Bible Guys, a podcast where a couple of friends talk about the Bible in fun and practical ways.

Chris:
Hey, everybody, welcome to another episode, presuming that you’ve listened before to The Bible Guys. My name is Chris, and this is Quin, because Jeff is off in another country somewhere. And so Quin, you were a guest on Monday.

Quin:
Yes, I was a guest on Monday, and I’m excited to be back.

Chris:
Yes, and we are excited to have you. Thank you. And actually, I’m most excited about this segment that we’re going to do with you. Because Quin, again, has only been on here once, so you may not know him. And honestly, he’s only been on staff with our church for only a few months, so I don’t know him as well as I would like to. But he’s going to give me two truths and a lie, and I’m going to have to guess and see which one’s the lie.

Quin:
Are we allowed to lie on the Bible, guys? Is that allowed? Only if that’s another segment for another only if you’ve ever told a lie in your life, okay All right, two truths and a lie and then if we got time you’re gonna do it, too So you but you didn’t know this was coming. I did so I’m prepared. You got to just come up with something Yeah, I’m fine. You could do that. You’re a witty guy. I am he’s good-looking. He’s witty. What can he do? All right, two truths and a lie. All right, you ready? Yep. I love to fly. I love being in the sky love being on an airplane. I Know you mean in an airplane love being don’t mean like Superman That would be cool if I could do that.

Chris:
Yeah, but you love to fly. Got it. Okay.

Quin:
I have been to 42 different states. And the third one is I have won multiple food eating competitions.

Chris:
Uh, there is no way that you have won. Oh, wait a minute. You did say overeating on Monday. You did say, you did say overeating.

Quin:
So I’m going to throw them off.

Chris:
Yeah. So I’m gonna, I’m gonna say the food competition is feasible. So I’m gonna, I’m gonna lean toward a truth there. Um, you’ve been to 42 States or you love to fly. Okay. I’m going to go with you don’t love to fly.

Quin:
You’re correct. I used to travel. My first ministry gig out of high school was I was a traveling preacher, but we traveled around with a traveling youth group, but we traveled around on a bus. And I’ve been to 42 states, and then recently I got to go to Hawaii with my wife, which was pretty cool. But I didn’t always hate flying, but coming back from Hawaii when the turbulence was this, and it’s shaking, and the stem’s falling, and you’re dropping for an hour, I’m like, Ever since then, I don’t like flying anymore. I don’t enjoy it. Well, I mean, it’ll do it to you.

Chris:
Yeah. I’ve been in some scary turbulence where I actually thought I was convinced we were going to go down. Yeah. But nobody else was worried. You know what I always do whenever I freak out is I look at the flight attendants. If the flight attendants are calm, then I’m good.

Quin:
If they freak out, you start praying.

Chris:
Well, yeah, if they freak out, I know everybody’s in trouble, right? That’s right. But I just look at them, and if they’re just literally just ho-hum, ho-hum, I’m just like, okay, then I have to calm down here, right?

Quin:
Yeah. So I don’t love flying. I haven’t always hated it. I hate it more now that I’m getting older, and I probably get more motion sickness and stuff. But I have, when I was younger, I’ve won a few eating competitions. I won a cupcake eating competition one time at a little church Halloween event. It was like the first one to eat half a dozen cupcakes, and I just threw those things back like Skittles. And then one time, we grew up downriver, and so out in, I think we were in Monroe at like an apple festival, or a pumpkin festival or something. I was walking down this festival and they had a pumpkin pie eating contest and I was like 8 or 9 and I missed, true story, I missed my division but the teenagers were about to go like the 13 through 18 and they were like, you can do it with the teenagers and I beat all the teenagers. And he ate, I think they quartered the pumpkin pies. And you had to eat a quarter of a pumpkin pie with just your face. And I did that better than all the others.

Chris:
Were you a bigger guy back then? Yeah, I was a little bit bigger. Yeah. Okay. All right.

Quin:
I was a chubby fella.

Chris:
Wow. Well, good. Well, hey, man, first of all, thank you for airing out that laundry. But also, pat on my back. Hang on. Let me… Oh, I’m patting myself. Is that a good shoulder? Because they got it right.

Quin:
That’s right.

Chris:
Yeah. Okay. Here’s a real quick, we have a couple of seconds. I’m going to give you two or three very fast things. Okay. I’m ready. Number one, um, I have saved somebody’s life from drowning twice. Wow. Two different people. Uh, number two, um, I’ve gotten two hole in ones on legitimate golf courses. And number three, um, I, have 2,500 comic books in mostly mint condition in my attic?

Quin:
I think I’ve heard you tell the golf story before, so I’m pretty sure that’s true. So the false ones either gotta be the comic books or the drowning. I’m gonna go with the drowning. I’m gonna say you haven’t saved two people from drowning.

Chris:
Yeah, so I only saved one person from drowning. And so, yeah, that is actually the false one.

Quin:
But two hole-in-ones, that’s impressive.

Chris:
Well, they were totally lucky, but I had to hang on to a thread of truth. I saved a kid from drowning one time, so I just thought, I’ll say convincingly by saying it’s two. But I actually do have a bunch of comics in my attic that I’ve collected and grew up reading. And then, yeah, I luckily get two hole-in-ones. That’s great. So, good job. Hey, we both won.

Quin:
We did. High five.

Chris:
Good job, buddy. Way to go. Wow. That was riveting. Riveting, I tell you.

Quin:
Riveting. You guys learned some things? Yeah. Something else about me? My birthday’s actually on Friday. Nobody cares. That’s enough. It’s the 14th. Nobody cares. No? Okay. We’re done talking about me? All right. Like Starbucks?

Chris:
Yeah, that’s funny. I just snorted. Okay, so today, Quin, you are going to be reading from Job chapter 3. This is actually the heading says, The Three Friends Answered Job. And then this is Job’s first speech. So we’re going to read verses 1 through 26. All right.

Quin:
You guys ready? Yeah. Job 3. Here we go. At last Job spoke, and he cursed the day of his birth. He said, Let the day of my birth be erased, and the night I was conceived. Let the day be turned into darkness. Let it be lost even to God on high, and let no light shine on it. Let the darkness and utter gloom claim that day for its own. Let a black cloud overshadow it, and let the darkness terrify it. Let the night be blotted out off the calendar. Never again to be counted among the days of the year. Never again to appear among the months. Let that night be childless. Let it have no joy. Let those who were experts at cursing, whose cursing could rouse Leviathan, curse that day. Wow. Let its morning stars remain dark. Let it hope for light, but in vain. May it never see the morning light. Cursed that day for failing to shut my mother’s womb, for letting me be born to see all this trouble. Why wasn’t I born dead? Why didn’t I die as I came from the womb? Why was I laid on my mother’s lap? Why did she nurse me at her breasts? Had I died at birth, I would now be at peace. I would be asleep and at rest. I would rest with the world’s kings and prime ministers, whose great buildings now lie in ruins. I would rest with princes rich in gold, whose palaces were filled with silver. Why wasn’t I buried like a stillborn child, like a baby who never lives to see the light? For in death, the wicked cause no trouble, and the weary are at rest. Even captives are at ease in death when no guards to curse them. Rich and poor are both there. and the slave is free from his master. Oh, why give the light to those in misery and life to those who are bitter? They long for death and it won’t come. They search for death more eagerly than for hidden treasure. They’re filled with joy when they finally die and rejoice when they find the grave. Why is life given to those with no future? Those God has surrounded with difficulties? I cannot eat for sighing my groans pour out like water. What I always feared has happened to me. What I dreaded has come true. I have no peace, no quietness, no rest. Only trouble comes.

Chris:
Yeah, this could be one of the most heart-wrenching speeches probably in the Bible. And notice that he doesn’t curse God. There’s no sin. Actually, it doesn’t even seem to include any type of anger because he’s not angry. He doesn’t pass blame. In fact, I don’t know if you caught it, but did you catch how many times you read the word why? Why wasn’t I born dead? Why wasn’t I laid on my mother’s lap? Why was I born this way? Why wasn’t I buried like a stillborn child? You know, why is life given to those without a future? He asked over and over that one question that we talked about. A lot of questioning. Yesterday with Kyle, which was, you know, you don’t know the why of some bad things happening. But let me also point this out as well, and that is, You know what stuck out to me this time that I read this, and I’ve never thought of this any other time I’ve ever read this, is that at any given time that he was talking about that, he never contemplated or indicated that he was going to take his own life.

Quin:
Right.

Chris:
So he said, why couldn’t I have been born as a stillborn child who’s at peace? You know, comparing it to, you know, those who are living in misery, because those who live in misery, they long for death. But he said, they’re finally glad when it does come. But nowhere in the scripture does he actually say, That he wants it to end or take my life now and you know We later on we read that Elijah actually has those thoughts, right? Elijah says it’s better for me to die like, you know, he wants his life to end Because he’s so depressed running from Queen Jezebel, but but nowhere does Job indicate that and I think that that’s really important because there’s probably a lot of people out there and And if you consider Job’s misery, chances are it’s probably more miserable than any listener out there.

Quin:
Yeah. I mean, he lost everything. He lost his livestock, his family, everything you can think of.

Chris:
And not only did he lose everything, but God is directly to blame. See, a lot of times we say, oh, that just was happenstance. That was this. Okay. Guess what? It was a large gust of wind that came and blew down the walls where his daughters were eating with their oldest brother. And it was a God, even the insurance company calls that an act of God, right? So it was an act of God that took away his family’s life. It was fire that came down from the skies that burned up his sheep and his crops, right? So it wasn’t just that everything was taken from him. It was that he had no other place to blame except for God. It is very obvious that supernatural things have done this to me. And again, we know that that was Satan attacking him, but he could have very easily interpreted it as God is to blame.

Quin:
Now Job seemed like a good person. It seemed like he had his affairs in order. And I used to, when I was a youth pastor for a long time, we would always do a series where we would ask, let the teens ask random questions. They could ask whatever they want. Sometimes you would get goofy questions, you get dumb questions. A kid would ask, could God, could Jesus microwave a burrito so hot that he himself could not eat it? You know, sometimes you get those questions.

Chris:
Wow. I’ve never heard that in quite that way.

Quin:
Or could God create a mountain that he couldn’t move? But sometimes you would get some serious questions. And this one came up a lot. I’m sure you heard it before. So I’m about to ask you a deep theological question. You don’t know what’s coming, but I’d love to get your perspective on it. And Job was probably thinking this. He’s probably thinking, why do bad things happen to good people? And I’m sure there’s people watching this who have thought that and would love to hear your perspective on it. Why do bad things happen to good people?

Chris:
Yeah. Well, I honestly believe that, first of all, that is, I just want to acknowledge the fact that that is the number one question. That’s the hottest question in the world today when it comes to God, right? So we all know that tragedies happen. Bad things happen, like forces of nature, like we just talked about. Innocent babies concoct diseases, right? Tragedies happen where evil men commit heinous acts of crime, and there’s victims left and right. So whether it’s a natural disaster or whether it’s the will of man, whatever. And here’s what I believe. I believe the short answer is I referred to it in yesterday’s podcast. Romans 8 tells us that we live in a broken and messed up world. We live in a world that is under the disease and the curse of sin, right? So when God created Adam and Eve, when he created the garden, it was perfection. There was no weeds that came out of the ground. So in other words, when sin changed, when sin changed the world, it literally changed the earth’s DNA. It changed humanity’s DNA because then disease came to be a thing. You know, death became a thing, right? And so here’s what I believe. I believe that God created us with free will. And the reason why he created us with free will is because true love cannot exist without free will. Because you can’t, if he would have created us all like robots and forced us to love him, then great, there’s no chance for evil or death or wrongdoing or sin, but that’s not true love. But God created us for relationship and for love. And true love cannot exist without free will. And so therefore, mankind had free will, mankind chose sin, sin, the punishment for sin was death, we live in a broken and messed up world, and so there are consequences for sin. Now, the acts of God, you know, tidal waves and things like that, I believe it’s because the DNA of the earth changed. I believe that that was not a God’s original design from the garden of Eden. I believe that we don’t know why God doesn’t swoop in to intervene and stop all evil. We don’t know why, but we do know that God says that one day he will stop all evil. One day he will conquer and cast Satan into the lake of fire and he’ll be bound and chained up for a thousand years. One day God will defeat all evil. But in the meantime, God has not chosen to defeat all evil. So the consequences of sin have played out. from the Garden of Eden until this day, and God tarries, and He gives the reason why. He tarries because it’s His wish that everybody would have the chance to be saved, to know His love, so He is patient in His second coming. And one last thought, one last thought. I believe that a lot of times when we want to place blame and there’s no person to blame, then we have no choice in our reasoning sometimes, in our warped reasoning, but to place it at the feet of God. But I believe that God most likely sits up there saying, why are you blaming me? This is a consequence of the world that mankind has created.

Quin:
Yeah, and God’s not gonna violate free will. He’s not gonna make that person go steal, rob a bank, kill, become a drunk driver. Whatever that person chose to do, that was that person’s choosing. God didn’t cause that. So you’ve probably heard that a lot. I’ve heard that of Christians saying, oh, God’s punishing me, or God’s doing this to me, and that’s not the character of God.

Chris:
Well, I hear people talk all the time about like, you know, like a child will die, for instance. And then they’d say, in fact, let me tell you a real-life example. There was a funeral that I did not actually do, but I heard about, where there was a little four-year-old kid who was on a tricycle, rolling down a steep driveway, and the grandfather was watching the child, and the grandfather was chasing the child. The bike rolled out and got ran over by a UPS truck. So the child dies, right? So I remember it. Why? Because that’s one of the most horrific things I’ve ever heard. Right? And that poor grandfather, etc. Right? And then here’s the reason why I also remember this story. Because a person got up at the funeral and said, it was God’s perfect will that that should happen. Right? Like God allowed it and he caused it to happen for reasons that we just should accept.

SPEAKER_00:
Wow.

Chris:
And my first instinct in my humanity is to say, wait a minute, if that’s true, I’m not sure I want to serve a God like that. I’m not sure I want to serve a God who says it’s my will. I choose for that to happen to that family, right? And that’s in my humanity, that’s my emotions, right? But even in my theology, I’ve come to understand and I fully believe the only explanation that makes sense, and by the way, it’s the only explanation that is able to connect the dots for every scripture given. If you take every scripture given about who God is, His character, His nature, our free will, our predestination, about sin and death and disease, you connect every truth together, the only explanation that I have found is that bad things happen because we live in a broken and messed up world. And all of it, every bit of it is a result of sin and death and curse and disease. And God sheds a tear every time we shed a tear. God is with our pain. God is with us always. It is not God’s will, perfect will, in my opinion, for that child to have that tragedy. That’s not God’s perfect will. That just happened.

Quin:
God didn’t cause that driver to go down that road that day.

Chris:
No, it is a broken world. That’s what we live in. We live in a world of pain. It’s a broken and messed up world.

Quin:
So speaking of pain, if someone who’s watching this who’s, maybe they feel like Job, they’re going through some hurt, they’re going through, maybe they just feel lost. Maybe they’re at their breaking, like Job’s at his breaking. He’s looking for peace multiple times in this chapter. He says, I need peace or I need rest. There’s someone out there hurting, they’re struggling, they’re looking for peace and rest. What’s your advice to that person? What do they do if they see themselves as Job and they’re like, I’m struggling, I need help?

Chris:
Yeah, so, you know, it sort of goes back to yesterday’s podcast, but I’ll say it in a different way today. Did you ever grow up listening to Christian music?

Quin:
A little bit. A little bit? Yeah, when I got a little bit older, when I was probably a teenager.

Chris:
Yeah, did you ever hear of an old group called New Song? Uh-huh. They’re still, I think they may still even be out. They’re members of Switch.

Quin:
I think they, like, emceed a winter jam I went to one time or something. Oh, did they?

Chris:
Yeah, yeah. So, there’s a song called Trust This Heart, and it says, God is too wise to be mistaken. God is too good to be unkind. So when you don’t understand, when you can’t see His plan, when you can’t trace His hand, trust His heart. And what they’re saying is, they’re basically saying the same thing I said in yesterday’s podcast, which is, when you don’t know the why, lean into the who.

Quin:
That’s good.

Chris:
Right? Lean into who God is. Because, you know, the one thing that we want more than anything else in this world is why. And that’s the one thing that we perhaps will never get this side of eternity for a lot of tragedies. And so people just say, I’ll be okay if I just understood why. But the bottom line is, chances are we’ll never know why. And I believe it’s just, we live in a broken world, that’s it. You know, I’ve stood up at funerals before and I’ve said, why does bad things happen to good people? And I said, I’ve been a pastor for 32 years, I have a Bible degree, I’ve read hundreds of books, I’ve had thousands of conversations, and my theological professional view is this, Crap happens. Right. That’s it. Right. That’s it.

Quin:
So what do we do about it when crap happens?

Chris:
Yeah, well, it’s leaning into the character of God, you know, and, you know, God is faithful. God is still a God that’s worthy of our praise. He’s still worthy of our trust. And just like Job said, Job said, shall we accept the good and not accept bad? And so, you know, we have no choice because what does Psalm 77 say? To what other God are we gonna run to?

Quin:
Right? Right. There’s nowhere else to go.

Chris:
There’s nowhere else to go. God is the God of the universe, right? If God before us, who could be against us? We have no other choice but to trust in God because God is a God that exists. He’s the God in control. He’s the God who is good and his nature is good. Yeah. So when we suffer, You know, that is our lot, and that is the world we live in, and that is a shame. And I tell you, we don’t wish it on anybody. But through our pain, God is there. And through the fire, God sometimes brings out refined gold.

Quin:
Yeah. Right? I think about the scripture that Jesus said, if you abide in me, if you get close to me and stay close to me, I’ll get close to you and stay close to you. If you abide in me, I’ll abide in you. And another scripture, you mentioned this a few days ago, but I’m going to read it in Matthew 11. Jesus said, come to me, all who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. In verse 29, take my yoke upon you, let me teach you, because I’m humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest. And so I think that’s the answer, right? If you come to Jesus, his yoke, the thing that, and we talked about it a little bit the other day, but the yoke, the thing that kept the oxen together, was a big, heavy thing that kept them. They had to walk and step. But Jesus said, my yoke is easy and it’s light. So it’s not this big heavy thing that’s connected. It’s not hard to get connected to me. He’s saying it’s real easy and it’s light. And so just come and you’re gonna find rest and you’re gonna find peace and you’re gonna find joy, even when it’s hard, even when it seems impossible, which is a wild thought to think about. Like, all I have to do is get close to Jesus and eventually I’m gonna have peace, rest, and joy. But he is those things, like we were talking about earlier. That’s in his character, is he loves us and he gives peace and he is peace and he is joy and he is, And so as hard as it is, I think what we’re both saying is we need to get close to Jesus and stay close to Jesus.

Chris:
That’s right. And just to wrap it up, because our time is coming to an end, I would just say when looking at Job chapter number three, one of the saddest and probably most heart-wrenching speeches in the Bible, just know that it says that Job did not sin. So it is not sinful to lament. Right. to be sorrowful, and ask the question why this isn’t a sin. But in all of this, Job did not sin, and notice he did not ever contemplate taking his own life. And good thing he didn’t, because the end of the story, spoiler alert, he’s going to end up with twice as much blessing because of his faithfulness. And so God You never know what’s around the corner. Don’t give up. Don’t decide that God’s not there, that God has stopped working, that God doesn’t hear you, that God’s abandoned you. Don’t give up because you never know what tomorrow may bring. You never know what a difference a year may make, or even a week for that matter.

Quin:
And keep going to Jesus. In your doubt, in your questioning, God’s not offended by our questioning. We say, God, why does this happen? Why this thing? Why that? That doesn’t offend God. I think He loves when we come to Him and sit at His feet and ask questions, even if it’s things we don’t understand. Right.

Chris:
That’s great. Well, hey, that is our time, and so hopefully we will see you next time on The Bible Guys.