“For affliction does not come from the dust, nor does trouble sprout from the ground, for a man is born to trouble, as sparks fly upward.” (5:6-7)
Sometimes when adversity rears it’s ugly head, we wonder where it “came from”, as if the world was perfect up until that moment.
The world hasn’t been perfect for a long time. In some ways, it can be incredibly and beautifully predictable: There’s always a winter, spring, summer and fall every twelve months, water will turn solid at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and other such observable sciences. In other ways, it surprises us: hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes, etc.
But nothing is more surprising than the wills and ways of mankind. We are the wildcard; the inconsistent variable.
I love the imagery of the chaotic troubles of man illustrated by the observable science of sparks. Watching a fire is mesmerizing, but nothing snaps you out of a trance like an upward flying spark when it leaps in your direction.
We are our own worst nightmares, our greatest threats. Yet we are somehow still surprised by suffering. It still feels out of place when it touches us.
Still, this isn’t the answer for Job. His circumstance is unique. It’s only natural that the first attempt of a friend to make sense of all this, is to point to the science: this is our tendency–trouble. It’s a good first guess. And maybe, for us, when we are surveying our pain, it’s still a good idea to check ourselves first.
The answer might be no, but the question must be asked, “did I bring this upon myself?”
Whether it’s our fault or not, we must always have the humility to readily check ourselves.
Are there any troubles in your life right now that you need to ask this question about? If the answer is yes–do the work to set things right. Restore, with the wisdom of God. Ask Him what to do.
If the answer is no–stay tuned. There are more questions to be asked on our way to getting to the bottom of suffering.