“God Always Acts”
June 20, 2021
Scripture Readings: Job 38:1-11; Mark 4:35-41
“The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.” [Revelation 22:21]
One of my favorite professors at Concordia Seminary was Dr. Louis Brighton. His father actually served as an interim pastor at Historic First Lutheran back in the late 1960's. In just about every class, Dr. Brighton would remind us that, when he died and went to Heaven, he was going to take the first 1,000 years and just stare at Jesus, faith becoming sight. He then said he would take the next 1,000 years and ask Jesus all his questions.
You and I might often feel the same way. Living lives of faith, there is a lot that we don’t understand. We know that God knows and we can usually comfort ourselves by trusting in Him, knowing that He is in control and that He knows all things. We comfort ourselves like Dr. Brighton – believing (hoping?) that one day we might know and understand.
Today’s assigned Scripture readings kind of threw a monkey wrench in that plan for me.
If you’ve never read the Book of Job, I would encourage you to do so sometime. Here’s the Reader’s Digest version. Job had great wealth and was a worshiper of God. The devil approached God, saying, “Of course Job worships You. He has everything. Take all that away and he will stop worshiping You.” After Job loses everything, three friends try to console him, convincing him that God owes him answers – and Job agrees. Our Scripture reading today (Job 38) is kind of God’s answer to Job – or His non-answer. God kind of says, “I don’t owe you answers because you are a mortal and I am immortal.”
That was not really the answer Job wanted, nor is it the answer we want.
Then, take a journey with the disciples on the lake (Mark 4:35-41). Remember that a number of the disciples were experienced fishermen. Being at sea during a storm was not probably unusual for them – not even if it was a “furious squall.” But this time they had Jesus with them, sleeping in their boat, Whom they awaken with the question, “Don’t You care if we drown?”
If you’re like me, you’ve probably never noticed that Jesus really doesn’t answer that question. He jumps up. He scolds the sea, calming it down. He then scolds His disciples (kind of like God did in Job 38), saying “Oh ye of little faith!” But He doesn’t answer their question, even standing there right before them.
These two Scripture readings made me stop and think and do a quick search of my Bible knowledge as to how often God answers our questions. I came to the conclusion that, more often than not, God does not answer questions. With our unanswered questions in life, we’re actually in good company.
Mary asked, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34). God didn’t answer.
The disciples asked, “Who sinned? This man or his parents?” (John 9:3). Jesus really didn’t answer, but rambled on about the glory of God.
The women asked, “Who will roll away the stone?” (Mark 16:3). It turned out that question didn’t need to be answered.
Mary asked “Where have you put His body?” (John 20:15). Jesus just called her by name.
What if our questions don’t ever get answered? Not even in Heaven? With all due respect to Dr. Brighton (who himself is now in the Arms of Jesus), will our questions even matter when we get to Heaven? Will we even remember them? Will we still need answers?
It’s funny that I just asked a bunch of questions about asking God questions. And, like many of you, I can’t answer those questions. I just don’t know.
One thing I do know is that Jesus knows exactly how we feel. He really, truly does. Never forget that, on the Cross, Jesus asked an unanswered question: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46; Psalm 22:1; Psalm 42:9).
If anyone deserved an answer, it was Jesus! But that day, on Calvary’s Cross, God was absolutely silent. The sky grew dark. The earth shook, Jesus died and was buried, His question unanswered.
Three days later, without speaking a word that we know of, God answered Jesus, tearing open the tomb and breathing breath back into the lifeless body of Jesus. “For us and for our salvation,” as we confess in the creeds. You see, Jesus Himself is the Word of God (John 1:1-4, 14). Jesus Himself is God’s answer to us (Hebrews 1:1-2).
God often doesn’t answer our questions. And He may never. But God always acts. And, in the end, that’s probably what’s most important to know.
Grace and peace to you!
Pastor Christopher Schaar