Can I Question God When I’m in Ministry?

We’re all familiar with the story of Job, and if we’re not total masters of it we at least get the gist: Satan wreaks havoc in Job’s life at God’s allowance and lets Job’s friends philosophize why these things happened to him.

Throughout the book, Job speaks up and turns his questions towards God (Job 3:11, 9:2, 14:14)

  • Why was I even born? (my paraphrase)

  • How can I be right before God?

  • Is there life after death?

These questions tap into the very fabric of our beings and our deepest longings in a broken and sin-filled world.

 

Sin and its Effects are Real

Lately, I have been wrestling with these same questions. As I speak with pastors and ministry leaders, both seasoned and new to ministry, we all walk through similar seasons where the weight of sin and brokenness seem so heavy.

I woke this morning to news of a Christian leader’s son who died unexpectedly, to e-mails questioning my pastoral abilities, word of members of my congregation giving in to temptation and embracing their sinful desires, and my own family’s futures and hopes, wondering if they’ll ever be realized. At the core of these feelings I consider what I think Job was really asking behind his questions:

  • God, are you good?

  • God, do you care?

  • God, what’s your plan?

I need to fight the impulse to jump to the correct, but sometimes trite answer of, “Of course God cares, look at Jesus,” and actually enter into wrestling with God.

 

A Common Occurrence

Throughout Scripture we see that God is not afraid to wrestle with his people. Jacob (Gen 32:24), Job (Job 3:11), Habakkuk (Hab 1:1-4), the Psalmist (Ps 42:9), Paul (2 Cor 12:8), and Jesus himself in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt 26:39). Hard things are hard, hard things bring out hard questions, hard things deserve complex answers.

Here’s the good news: God is happy to give us complex answers to hard questions. In Scripture we see that these answers are as unique in their style as the person they’re given to:

  • Jacob gets blessing (Gen 32:29)

  • Job’s life and paradigm for understanding God are reset (Job 42:1-6)

  • Habakkuk gets hard truth in a loving tone (Hab 1:5-11)

  • The Psalmist gets reminded of steadfast covenant love (Ps 42:11)

  • Paul gets reminded of the power of grace (2 Cor 12:9)

  • Jesus gets wrath (Rom 5:9)

 

All Our Questions Answered

Jesus gets wrath — all of the products of sin, all of the just righteous anger of God poured out in full. He takes it all. All the questions of God’s goodness, care, and plan, get answered in full in Jesus where nothing is left for us but grace for us through faith in him.

Friend, do not fear your questions. God doesn’t and has met them all in the deepest sense in Christ. He does not shun nor push you away for them. You are his child and he is your Abba Father. What good father turns away the questions of his children? Our questions can find harmony with the promises of God. Let us see that: “All the promises of God find their Yes in him” (Christ Jesus). – 2 Cor 1:20

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