The Patience of Job

In this particular time, I’m sure a lot of us are struggling with one thing or another.   It is during times like these when I reread the story of Job, the old testament prophet who faced horrible trials and tribulations.  It seems that God and the Devil were arguing about whether or not Job, a faithful servant of God, would remain so if all of his comforts were taken from him.  He suffered terribly, lost his money, his friends, his health…pretty much everything.  Yet when his friends come with their own ideas about why God is punishing him, he refuses to accept their logic.  He knew he was a good man, and was in despair at what was happening to him.  They spend the majority of the book arguing about God’s intentions…until Yahweh jumps into the picture via a tempest and basically says, “Who is screwing up my intent with their ignorant words…brace yourself, now I’m going to ask you questions and you are to answer me!”  I love that line…especially since it follows with, “where were you when I laid the earth’s foundations?”  God rails on and on and Job finally gets it.  He retracts his words and repents in dust and ashes and is once again blessed.

One of the reasons I love this story so much is that it is difficult to understand pain and struggle when we truly believe that we haven’t done anything to deserve it.  I feel that way a lot, you know, living in crazy town and all.  The best part of the story is having God list his omniscient CV in the form of questions that we can never comprehend, yet every day I hear people attempting to explain what is in God’s mind and what his words mean.  Don’t get me wrong, that is the job of theologians after all, but it is the infallible tone and arrogance that often remind me of Job’s friends.  I am sick of edicts and judgments on what is good, moral, holy and right in the mind of God.  I almost giggle at how God shows his muscle in a “mine are soooo much bigger than yours” kind of way…enough to make the brave of heart pee in their pants.  The poignant message here is that we cannot ever comprehend the mind of God.  Perhaps his emphasis on strength is to give us comfort in our weakness.  I certainly would feel courage facing any bully…even Satan, with God’s muscle behind me.  So, while it sucks to struggle like Job…I will learn by his humility in the end and try less hard to figure out why, and rejoice more that I don’t have to.  That indeed with him all will be well and all manner of things will be well.

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