Basically, I had two false arguments going with God. One was easy to see- I thought myself deserving of some knowledge that God in His wisdom says I can't handle. The other was a bit more subtle- if I didn't understand this knowledge I wouldn't be able to explain it to others. And that is not to say that GOD would look bad for not having servants to explain it, but that ME, myself, would look bad, and God by extension.
Ironic then, that in the climax of the book of Job, God finishes His lesson to Job by describing Behemoth- which, if you read the description, is what we used to call in school a brontosaurus, a giant, plant eating dinosaur. Without going into the debate of how Job would have known about dinosaurs for God to use it as an example, let me point out this much. God goes to great lengths to describe its size and might, far beyond anything a man could harm. "He is the first of the children of pride", God concludes.
So I find it ironic to connect this "king of pride" with his tiny brain size. Despite outweighing ten elephants, the bronto's brain was about a pound. William Diller Matthew of the Smithsonian put it like this:
...the dinosaur’s brain was comically small for its size. This sauropod was not an intelligent, behaviorally complex creature, Matthew argued, but a dim-witted leviathan devoted to a lazy lifestyle. “Hence we can best regard the Brontosaurus as a great, slow-moving animal automaton,” Matthew wrote, “a vast storehouse of organized matter directed chiefly or solely by instinct and to a very limited degree, if at all, by conscious intelligence.”
My point being, the prouder you are, the dumber you get. And just when you think you know it all, you are probably at your dumbest. And that's where I was.
Knowing this, I ordered Ravi Zacharias' book On Suffering. It has been great at understanding the philosophical end of things, and I am getting a lot out of it. But the answer I needed was something far simpler. In a section on Job, he mentions that all Job really needed to know was that God was still there with him. He shows that in Job's statement, "I had heard of You by ear, but now I have seen You." And in seeing Him, he realized just how small- how "behemoth-brained"- his arguments were.
But being me, and still a bit in the throes of the argument, I wasn't getting that. I really wasn't seeing where I was, until I backtracked to Elihu's soliloquy before God let Job have it. And one heretofore unnoticed verse caught my eyes:
Job 37:21 And now the light in the sky is dazzling, too bright for us to look at it; and the sky has been swept clean by the wind.
So here is man, who sees the sky, knows it to be blue, but when he peers into it to discern the shades, he cannot bear it. He knows it, but it's too bright to KNOW. And that's not even going to the sun, a minor star in a smallish galaxy. And I'm supposed to understand anything of God. Hey, "behemoth-brain"!
And from that point I could go in a variety of directions here, but the point I'm shooting for comes in both the analogy of pride I've hit and one more verse from Job- again, amongst the things Elihu tried to get through to Job:
Job 36:21 Beware! Do not turn to iniquity; for you have chosen this rather than affliction.
So in trying to escape affliction, we turn to sin instead. CHOOSING affliction- dealing with it, rather than escaping it- is the better part. Job was denying his suffering was fair, and that was his sin. Bottom line, we don't understand suffering- and we're not supposed to.
One of the philosophical points made by Zacharias and his co-author is that if we could go back in time and remove any bit of the suffering we (or others) experience, we wouldn't come out as the person we are. And THAT person is the one God designed right from the start. We don't become who we are intended to be without suffering. And we are a link that helps build everyone else that God is SPECIFICALLY making- somewhere down the line is someone who wouldn't be what THEY are supposed to be without our suffering.
And just why does God choose to build us that way? I don't know- but the answer is somewhere in that brilliant, cloud-swept sky, if we can look long enough.