Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
I had heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You….
Listening to the way American Christians talk to people who suffer might give one the impression that we worship the “God of all Answers” rather than the God of all comfort. Here’s the way 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 seems to be interpreted by Job’s friends (including people like me):
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of solutions and God of all answers, who answers us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to answer those who are in any affliction, with the answers with which we ourselves are answered by God.”
Someone once tried to encourage me as I walked through a particularly severe time of suffering by saying, “When we suffered our tragedy, we learned that the question to ask God is not ‘why?’ but ‘what?’…’what are you trying to teach me, Lord?'” It may be that God is trying to teach us something, but He never gave Job any reasons for the suffering he endured, nor did God say, “This is the lesson I wanted you to learn.” He didn’t give Job answers, but asked him a lot of questions. He witheld reasons from Job, and instead revealed Himself to Job.
The question is not “why?” nor is it “what?”, but rather “who? Who is this God whom I say I trust?” Job had that question answered in an alarming way. One thing is for sure: our God is not “the Father of all solutions and the God of all answers.” He never promised to give us reasons, easy solutions, nor answers when we suffer. He has promised to give us comfort. And He’s asked us to do the same for others.