How great is God - beyond our understanding! The number of his years is past finding out.
What strange creatures we are! We have an amazing capacity to grasp some truths, yet the seeming inability to follow them to the end in logic. Elihu, the young man who accompanied Job’s three friends, sat in silence as they accused him and as Job defended himself. Elihu then spoke up, and youth will always get its opportunity eventually. He began with greater insight than the others, but then he weakened and in the end disappoints like the others. He was still prone to assume that trouble is the result, and thereby the proof, of personal sin.
But here his insight spoke clearly on three astounding truths about God. First, He is great, or omnipotent. No power can overcome Him. No one can defeat Him. His patience is often confused with weakness, or indecision. It is not, however, because He is neither of these.
Second, He is unsearchable, unable to be understood or found out. When we get to the end of all that we can think or imagine or understand, when all our thoughts, logics, tenets and ideas are stretched to their limits, we still cannot grasp Him. We are like someone trying to reach the stars by climbing a mountain. We claw our way up in knowledge, risking life and limb and sanity, studying the highest ideas of the great thinkers of earth, trying to gain understanding, and at best we find ourselves standing on a rather modest peak gazing at the stars. When we come to the highest our minds can take us, the great galaxies of the nature of God are still light years beyond us.
Third, He is eternal. Our lives are so short, and even if we live to be 100 we feel like our entire life span was as a dream in the night. But God knows no beginning or end. How can I understand Him? How can I grasp His ways? He must show me who He is, but even then I will certainly be unable to grasp Him fully.
These great truths should teach us both trust and humility - trust or faith in Him and humility in our understanding of God and of life, and this is where Elihu failed to followed the logic of his declaration. Because God is a mystery, life is also a mystery. There will be some things that happen to us that we will never fully grasp. It is not that we understand nothing - for God in His mercy has created us with some capacity for understanding - but we never grasp it all, nor can we predict everything.
In the face of difficulty, the great truths of God and His ways encourage us. We cannot always understand all of our trials and difficulties - some, yes, but never all - but God has given us insight to trust Him and to know His purpose. His end goal is to redeem us from sin and to bring us into His presence in peace and contentment and great joy. But in the course of our life, He leads us down many surprising twists and turns, up great mountaintops of joy and down into great valleys of grief.
To the Jewish Nation God said to them, “If you return, O Israel, return to Me” (Jer. 4:1), and this is the crux of our need. We too often miss the blessings of His hand more than the fellowship of His face. We wish to be restored to our position among men, rather than to be renewed by His Spirit within. Whenever the jagged edges of life stab us uncomfortably, whenever they seem to tear at our hearts, then is the time to consider His ultimate purpose. We are like Job, that we spend our energies in justification of self rather than in the worship of God - but it is the worship of God that transforms us, not our attempts at self-justification.
The inward journey of self-doubt and examination is not entirely pointless - we will do it anyway, and I suppose there is a purpose of God in this aspect of our nature - but this period of questioning our motives and actions is at best just a stopover, not a place to call home. Let your sorrow and disappointment, let your pain and sadness bring you to a deeper knowledge of God. There is hope found in Him, eternal hope, that this life will soon pass, and with its passing so will the sorrows and difficulties of life go with it, and eternity looms for us - an eternity of peace and joy and fulfillment with Him.