A Month in Job: Part 1

Posted on August 16, 2016 at 8:30 am by heatherscherer No Comment

In a world marked with suffering, we focused on what Job could reveal to us on the subject.  The answers were surprising and deeply moving for those who journeyed with me.  We discovered that Job is described with 4 terms for this faithfulness.  That is twice as many as Noah who was the restart for all humanity.  We noticed that his belongings all added up to the number 10 which represents perfection.  It was clear to us that Job was being lifted up in this book as the most faithful person ever.

There is not an explanation for why suffering exists.  But study showed us that this book of the Bible was probably written because of the universalness of suffering.  Suffering has been around since the very beginning of time. In this book of the Bible, Satan is not on the side of evil but is part of God’s Holy court and serves God’s purposes.  Satan translates as “accuser” and his job is to point out those people who are unfaithful to God.  In the very controversial beginning of this text, God brags on the faithfulness of his servant Job and Satan argues that Job is faithful because God protects him and he never suffers.  Surprisingly, God has faith in Job and allows him to be tested.

Job responds to his suffering in lament.  Lament is not a word that we hear much in our culture today but is something we still do.  We cry out in anguish to God.  We get angry at God.  We blame God for our suffering.  But despite the unimaginable grief that Job suffers, he never rejects God.  He stays in conversation with God even when he is in lament. Job teaches us how to respond in our own suffering.  He gives us permission to show our full range of emotions to God.  He reveals that God is big enough to handle our lament and it is ok.  The important thing is that we never turn away.  We don’t stop speaking or listening.  We do not harden our heart against God in the midst of our suffering.  The book of Psalms also gives us wonderful examples of lament.

Job’s friends on the other hand spend a lot of time talking about God but never speak too or with God.  They respond to his suffering by blaming Job.  They throw theology talk at Job in the midst of his suffering.  We are wonderfully taught by their example how NOT to respond to the suffering of others.  We should never try to explain something we can not understand with platitudes that could hurt the suffering’s relationship with God.  An example of this would be the awful saying that “God must have needed them” or “God needed another angel.” So much suffering is caused by our choices and decisions that lead to suffering but people don’t need to be reminded of that either.  Simply say, “I’m so sorry” if you must say something. Pray to God for those who are suffering.

Next time I will unpack God’s response to Job.Facebooktwitterby feather

Leave a comment