“…you are worthless physicians, all of you!”
In the early 1970’s there was a TV comedy called, Is there a doctor in the house? It is the story of a doctor in a small town who hires a newly graduated doctor without realising the M.D. is a woman. He dislikes women and the series revolves around how he copes with a female doctor in his practice.
In other words, my title today is certainly not original. If you watch drama movies you will also come across this question in some scenes of medical emergencies. In the right context it is a most appropriate question to ask.
The person who spoke our verse is Job and he has a problem because he is surrounded by “comforters” who think they are spiritual doctors. They are trying to make an accurate diagnosis of Job’s problem with God. Regrettably these friends have made a very inappropriate diagnosis of Job’s problem.
They have the very simple view of relating to God that says, “Serve God properly and you will be blessed. Sin against God and you are sure to suffer.” Now there is some truth in what they say and we cannot write off their comments altogether. It is clearly taught in Scripture that the final end of those who persist in sin is punishment at the hand of God.
But that is not to say that all Christian people who suffer must be very sinful and in need of punishment from God. Job is the most important example in the Bible of a person who is pleasing to God and yet endures great pain and sorrow in life.
It is difficult to find a finer person in all of the Old Testament than Job. Yet this man went through greater sorrow than perhaps any other person in the Old Testament. It does not make sense. How can we think our way through this story? Or closer to home, how can we make sense of the suffering of a loved one who brought nothing but joy to the family?
What we really need to do in the context of seeing a fine person like Job under a crushing burden is to stop trying to reason the whole thing out. We must stop our search for an answer and bow before a sovereign God and say with Jesus, “Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in your sight.” Matthew 11:26.
There are riddles in life that no one can think their way through. We read of the righteous suffering as 1 Peter 3:4 reminds us. In this situation we need to have faith that God is both righteous Himself and that He is still in control of His creation.
When we want to deny the goodness of God in the context of suffering, we are taught to bow down and acknowledge that God is God, confess that He is good, and later He will explain everything to His own people. We are to “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him.” Psalm 37:7. May you have grace to do so today.