WHEN TRAGEDY STRIKES, I often turn to the book of Job because he tends to ask God the tough questions we’re thinking.
He doesn’t always do it with courtesy and a gentle touch.
Why should he?
He has just lost all of his children in a windstorm, all of his flocks to thieves and a fire, and his health to some kind of skin disease that erupts into boils.
Here’s one of the many questions he asks God.
Why bother bringing a troubled soul to life?
“Why create someone and turn the light of life on inside of him when he’s going to become a miserable, bitter soul?
He wants to die. But he doesn’t die. So he hunts for death like he’s hunting for treasure.
Only when he finds the grave does he find the joy.
Why is the light of life turned on inside of me when God has me trapped like this?
I can’t eat. The sight of food makes me sick. I moan and cry a river.
I’m a living worst-case scenario. My worst fears have come true.
There’s no peace for me. No quietness. No rest. Just chaos.”
—Job 3:20-26 Casual English Bible translation (CEBT, beta edition).
Doesn’t that sound like it describes a soul so troubled that he would shoot into a crowd of innocents?
Here’s the problem, for those of us looking for resolution.
As far as Bible writers report it, God almost never answers “why” questions. I’ve written about that before:
- If God is good, why so much suffering?
- When suffering slams our faith through the wall
- Human suffering: God shoulda known better
I have no idea what the silence of God means.
The closest he comes to answering the “why” questions of Job is to say, pretty much, “Hey, speck of dust, are you talking to me—the one who created the universe?”
You can start reading about God’s reply in Job 38.
In cases of shootings like the one in Orlando, and like ones we’ve seen elsewhere, I’m not convinced that the “why” questions should be coming from us and going to God.
I suspect, instead, the “why” questions should come from God and go to us.
Perhaps he has every right to ask
- Why on earth would we write laws that put an assault rifle into the hands of anyone but a protective officer—let alone into the hands of a broken soul?
- Why would we expect that more guns plus more bullets would add up to anything but more blood?
- Why is it that we do nothing but sit and stew and complain, “There’s no peace for me. No quietness. No rest. Just chaos.”
Casual English Bible website is live
The beta edition of the Casual English Bible is live, with Genesis and Luke available online.
I have a team of 12 volunteers helping me proof and polish Genesis.
So far, I have 11 working on Luke. I have room for just one more. You get a free copy of A Visual Walk Through Genesis for your trouble. If you’re game, let me know. All you do is read through the Gospel of Luke on CasualEnglishBible.com, and let me know of any mistakes you find.
At this point, there are plenty left.