Encounter or Explanation?

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Job’s book concludes with a surprise visit from God, but instead of comforting the sufferer, he interrogates him about his whereabouts while he (God) was busy creating. He doesn’t refer to Job’s suffering. He doesn’t answer any of Job’s questions or defend himself against any of Job’s accusations. He doesn’t explain why he was silent for so long or say anything about Satan’s role in Job’s story. He doesn’t give Job any action steps or advice about how to live his life in the future. Instead he just shows up—and then the story ends.

Job gets an encounter with God instead of an explanation. For my money, I’ll take one encounter over a thousand explanations. I may not wind up with tidy answers to all my queries, but I’ll encounter God. Faith doesn’t mean that I have God all figured out, but that I’m learning to live with him without having him figured out. I can desire answers and even ask for them, but I no longer assume that I deserve them—nor will I presume to demand them.

If I’m to have “Jobish” difficulties, I hope for more “Jobian” encounters with God—and it has been my good fortune to have many such encounters while slogging through the dark.

– Originally published in The Other End of the Dark: A Memoir About Divorce, Cancer, and Things God Does Anyway

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