Arguably, the most common question for people to ask God is, “Why God?” Most often, this question is posed in the context of encountering a significant challenge. Yesterday, as the result of hearing a Bible study on the story of Job, I recognized what is probably the least common question for people to ask God.
The story of Job seems to be pretty universally known. It’s not unusual to hear even those who don’t consider themselves to be people of faith referencing “The patience of Job”. Likewise, it’s not uncommon to find those who don’t consider themselves familiar with the Bible who know details of Job’s story, particularly his initial reaction to the great losses he had sustained, when he said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” – Job 1-21(b)
However, Job and those closest to him did end up going through a complex process of examining the question “Why God?”, as it related to Job’s tragic experiences. They never really got an answer to that, though. What they eventually got was God reminding them, at length, of who He is. He began this by asking:
“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.” – Job 38:4
Job’s response to this began with him saying:
“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:5-6
To me, this shows Job’s recognition that he had failed to ask the right question in the first place – i.e. “Why, God, did You bless me with all I had?” That is the question I alluded to earlier as, most likely, being the least common question for people to ask God. Just think about this in your own life. How often do you ask “Why God?” when you get a good job or you’re able to buy something you’ve been dreaming of or you’re able to do something special for a loved one or you recognize the things you’re free to do because you live in the U.S., whereas you wouldn’t be able to do so if you lived elsewhere or … ?
In addition to putting into perspective that these are the more appropriate questions to be asking God, I think it reflects some basic values that have been diminished in our community. These are the sort of values I’ve mentioned in my series of articles entitled Securing the Legacy of the Greatest Generation as a mindset of sincere gratefulness for what we do have versus our consistently taking our blessings for granted. It’s an attitude that can be traced back to America’s founding ideals, rooted in Judeo-Christian values. It’s why the phrase “Praise be to God” is inscribed on the capstone of the Washington Monument and it has 10 inscriptions of Scripture and prayers, as well as having a Holy Bible resting at its cornerstone. Today; as we seek what’s best for ourselves, our family and our community; I suggest that instead of just having God Bless America be something we sing at baseball games on Sundays, we keep it in our hearts, as a sincere prayer of gratefulness.