Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wit's End

"But where shall wisdom be found?.. Man does not know its worth, and it is not found in the land of the living... God undersands the way to it, and he knows its place." - Job

When do you come to your wits end? For me it doesn't take too much: a stubbed toe, an unkind comment, an impossible question.

But I've been reading Job again. Dangerous stuff. He goes to his wit's end and beyond. He's unafraid to ask any question, turn over any stone, and push his wit into the great blue yonder.

Why is Job so wreckless? I believe its because he's looking for an answer, perhaps the answer. Sort of like humans in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglass Adams, who are searching for the answer to the meaning of life and find it's the number 41, or not at all like them - ha, Job pushes on in a fierce pursuit of a real answer.

What pushes him? Ironically, I believe it's the innadequate attempts of his friends that drive him deeper in and farther up into the truths of God. Job's argument, far from being an audacious claim of self-righteousness, is a profound appeal to God's real and gracious love, wisdom and justice. It's an appeal to the person of God himself.

So where am I taking this? I guess when we're smack dab in the middle of life, it's really helpful to know that no matter our circumstance, there's a God who's wisdom, love and justice is bigger, greater, and more in tune with reality than we will ever be. That's what I think Job is pushing for: a glimpse of God's reality - what's really real. And in the end, rather than specifically answering Job's questions, God gives him a glimpse into God's world and Job is satisfied.

Job knows that he's reaching beyond human wisdom in asking the questions he asks. He knows that he's walking on difficult and dangerous ground. But God honors him for doing so.

To me Job encourages the believer not to settle. The book of Job teaches us that simplistic explanations of God and his actions are innexcusable. That's why all the questions that pop up in light of war, hurricanes, and aids epidimics probably don't have simplistic answers.

We are to push the limits of our wits to think the highest possible thoughts we can of God and do that only in the humble knowledge that our thoughts will never fully comprehend the actions of God. I think this is important, because "Job thinking" encourages us to embrace difficulty fully and not to gloss over it with simplistic explanations or to avoid asking the hard questions.

I believe that what the world needs these days (and whom am I to say it on some blog, but I'll say it anyway) are robust believers: believers in a real God. We will not settle for anything short of desparately clinging to God and addressing him at our wit's end when we address the world. After all, where our wit ends, God's wisdom begins.


Andrew said...

The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything is 42. Get your facts straight brother. Great couple posts on Job!

Taylor said...

Agreed, important correction - 41 doesn't make any sense, 42 of course does. Very thoughtful and instructive post, thanks Philip!