“I Uttered That I Understood Not”

We often think of the book of Job as a dialog between Job his friends, but perhaps the more important conversation is between Job and God. Elder D. Todd Christofferson highlighted this exchange, beginning with Job questioning why God allowed these terrible things to happen to him. For clarity, Elder Christofferson quoted from several different English translations of the Bible:

  • Job’s complaint: “God has wronged me and drawn his net around me. Though I cry, ‘I’ve been wronged!’ I get no response; though I call for help, there is no justice” (Job 19:6–7, New International Version Study Bible, 2018).
  • God’s response: “Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be justified?” (Job 40:8, New Revised Standard Version).
  • Job’s humble reply: “I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.… I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.… Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:2–3, 6, King James Version).
  • As a result of Job’s humility, “The Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning” (Job 42:12).

Elder Christofferson drew the following lesson from this exchange:

It truly is folly for us with our mortal myopia to presume to judge God, to think, for example, “I’m not happy, so God must be doing something wrong….”

God will indeed honor His covenants and promises to each of us. We need not worry about that…. We do our best but must leave to Him the management of blessings, both temporal and spiritual.

Our Relationship with God,” General Conference, April 2022

In Zenos’s Allegory of the Olive Tree, the servant questions a decision made previously by the Lord of the vineyard. As it turns out, things have worked out rather well: A tree is producing fruit, even after being planted in the worst part of the vineyard. But the servant is still uncomfortable with the original decision. The Lord of vineyard responds decisively: “Counsel me not; I knew that it was a poor spot of ground; wherefore, I said unto thee, I have nourished it this long time, and thou beholdest that it hath brought forth much fruit” (Jacob 5:22).

The prophet Jacob, who quoted that allegory, urged each of us to apply that lesson in our own lives:

Seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works.

Jacob 4:10

Today, I will trust the wisdom of God. I will seek to follow His guidance, not to second-guess or question Him. I will remember that I can’t possibly understand everything He does, so I will leave in His hands those things that I don’t yet comprehend.

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