by: Dr. Bob Gray Sr.
John 13:7, “Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.”
Job 35:12, “There they cry, but none giveth answer, because of the pride of evil men.”
None of us can make it alone in life. None of us can keep on going alone in life. We need our God and we need each other. There is a great mistake being made in our Christianity in America for we have divided the laity and the so-called clergy too much in our nation. The truth is we have in each local church a man chosen to spend more time in the Scriptures and with God than the rest of the people.
However, the one who is chosen is weak himself. Preaching is one doubter preaching to a bunch of doubters attempting to convince all of us not to doubt. Preaching is an imperfect man preaching a perfect Book to imperfect people attempting to perfect them. Preaching is one weak man preaching to a bunch of weak people attempting to cause all of us to lean upon Jesus for strength.
So, the preacher comes as at best a man to preach God. When I preach on joy I do not have joy all the time, but I work at it and as a result I have joy most of the time. When I preach on strength I do not come as one that always has strength, but I know where to go to receive strength and I do go there most of the time.
I do not come to the congregation with all the answers, but I do come to them with a Bible that has all the answers. I have the same fears, doubts, apprehensions, temptations, and trials that the congregation has.
The Bible says Jesus was tempted in all points like as we are. The Bible says, “There is no temptation taken you such as is common to man.” Every testing I have you have and every testing you have I have. The great preachers of the past such as Jack Hyles, John R. Rice, Bill Rice, D. L. Moody, C. H. Spurgeon, Lee Roberson, and Billy Sunday were all human beings. To find fault in them is to find fault in you and the rest of the human race.
When I was in grade school we use to have schoolbooks that had the answers in the back of the book. We would grade others papers by going to the back of the book and look up the answers. When we would take a test I can still hear the teacher saying, “Don’t look at the answers until the test is over.”
Think about that? We all need to think about that. It is not time to look at the answers now in life while we are being tested. During the testing time it is not time to look for the answers. Why, because you will not learn anything if you get the answers before the test is over. I use to say to myself, “But that is when you need the answers the most.” However, the teacher would say, “You will not learn anything by getting the answers before the test is over. Wait till it is over and then look at the answers to find out how you did.”
Here we are today being tested and we want to know the answers. I find myself getting on to a plane sometimes saying, “Why?” I check into a hotel sometimes asking myself, “Why?” and I can hear my grade school teachers saying, “Wait till the test is over before you look for the answers.” All of us want the answers during the test, but the answers do not come till the test is over. The truth is none of us will learn anything. We must wait until the test, the trial, or the testing time is over.
John 13:7 Jesus said, “I’ll tell you hereafter” for it is not time now to tell you. It is not time to look at the answers. I pastored for 33 years and have been honored to be in the ministry going on 39 years and I knew the dear people God gave me to pastor. I knew their testing and I knew they were asking why just like I was asking why for all of us do it. They had their airplane moment, motel moment, and they all wept as we all asked why.
May I tell you what my grade school teachers use to say to us. “Don’t look for the answers until the test is over, because you will not learn anything by knowing the answers without the test.” There is no great merit in trusting God if you have all the answers. God wants you to trust him without the answers. God wants you to work your way through the problem. Once the test is over or the problem is worked through then you can look at the answers. Only then will “why” be answered, but we all are so prone to fuss at God telling him we want to know the answers now.
However, God says in Job, with Elihu speaking to Job, that Job was tested and asking God for the answers. He was asking why did my ten children die, why is my health gone, why is my wealth gone, why are my friends turning on me, and why did my wife lose her faith and loyalty in me. Job was asking God why? “There has to be an answer why all ten of my children died, my health is gone, my wealth is gone, my so-called friends have forsaken me, and my wife said, ‘Curse God and die!’ God why?”
Elihu comes to Job and says, “God is not interested in you.” Oh, Elihu you are so wrong! God is interested in Job and in every one of his people. God knows your name, your house number, your social security number, you blood type, your telephone number, your blood pressure, your height, your weight (ouch), your heartache, and your personal pain. You and I are not an uh oh with God. All of a sudden a cloud comes and the presence of Jehovah God appears to Job.
“Why God?” asks Job. Why my health, wealth, ten children, disloyal wife, and so-called friends who became disloyal. I can hear Job say to himself, “Wow! God is here and God is going to tell me why.” He heard the voice of God and God is going to tell him “why” he thought, but God did not tell him “why.”
In the 39th, 40th, and 41st chapters of Job when God came to Job he never told Job why one time. God said, “I want to show you something Job. Look at the streak of lightening across the sky. Can you do that?” Job felt that mighty rush of wind and God asked Job, “Can you do that?”
God gives him a display like no one could imagine. God shows his power, omnipotence, wonders, and creation, then He says to Job, “If I can do all of that then don’t you think there is a why?” “If tornadoes are my footprints, hurricanes my breathe, snow comes from me, I can cause the rain to come then stop, and I can put on a lightening show of electricity in the sky, don’t you think you could trust a God like me? Don’t you think Job, I have a reason for every thing?”
Why don’t we quit looking for the answers while the test is being given? Why don’t we just work through the problems? Why don’t we just work our way through the trials, tribulations, and tests? Why don’t we just learn some things? It’s not answer time for it’s trusting time. It’s time to trust God not to find answers from God. If you and I found the answers it’s not going to help us until the test is over.
God says to us, “Trust me.” When you can’t see your way through just trust God to guide you through. Tell God you do not need to know why because your God knows why.
- We waste our time guessing at the whys or the answers
- We may guess wrong
- We may make a wrong decision based on a wrong guess
- We cannot know the answer until you work through the problem
- If we knew why in the middle of the test we would disagree with the answer
- The testing time is more help to us than the answer time