We're finishing up the Book of Job in Bible study. And I had a kind of interesting real-life illustration the other day.
I was watching something on TV that included one of those "this day in history" things, and I was reminded that has been 20 years since figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was attacked at her practice rink. You probably already know the story. Rival skater Tonya Harding's husband was trying to help his wife advance to the Olympics by eliminating the competition, and paid someone to break Kerrigan's leg.
I vividly remember the coverage of the attack; it was such a huge news story during the Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. But the most lasting image for me was, in the moments after the attack, the video of her sitting on the ground where she had fallen, crying out in pain and anguish, and repeatedly saying one word: "Why?"
It was an image that, when it was brought to my mind, seemed to fit with my image of Job. For several chapters of the book, that's his position: in pain and in misery, and desperately wanting to know why. He uses that word more than two dozen times.
Sometimes we feel that if we could just know the reason we were going through a difficult time, it would make it easier. But that's not necessarily true. After all, Nancy Kerrigan eventually found out why someone had hurt her, but it was so cruel and bizarre, how could the attacker's motivation lessen the pain? How could it make her recovery and physical therapy easier?
Knowing why is about having control. And control is something we generally want more of. But control is not always what it's cracked up to be. For that matter, neither is knowing.
It's okay to ask why. But we need to accept that sometimes we can't know. And maybe sometimes we're better off not knowing. And anyway, it's enough that He does.
~ "He is Lord of heaven and earth" ~