Job Part Two

Posted on August 22, 2016 at 6:43 pm by heatherscherer No Comment

As a mother who has raised three kids, there came a point in their lives where I said to each of them “I’m sorry but the world does not revolve around you.” This typically happens when they are teenagers.  It seems harsh and even mean but it is a reality check for someone who has become inward focused.  This happens in the book of Job when God finally responds to his lament.  God points out that his concerns are so much greater then just what is happening to Job.  We are taken on a whirlwind tour of creation that goes on for chapters. God lifts up different animals and their value.  God reminds us all that, as the author of creation, humanity is not the only concern.

I told a story to my congregation about a time when I was jogging in upstate New York. I had a lot on my mind and some pretty big decisions to make.  As I ran between two mountains, I saw horses running in the valley below me and the sight took my breath away.  I realized in that moment how small I was and I was relieved.  My problems and worries didn’t seem quite as big. Compared to what I knew others were facing, my things seem less important.  I think it is comforting in the midst of our own struggles to be reminded that there are others out in the world like us and even facing more then we ever will.  God reminding Job that he is not the center of everything was probably a relief in the same way.

The restoration of Job finally happens as God asks him to pray for his friends because God points out that they do not have a faithful relationship with God.  They speak about God but not to God.  Job is praised for not turning away from God in the midst of his suffering.  He is asked to be outward focused and to pray for someone besides himself and his own situation. I think this is important for all of us to be reminded to stay outward focused.  It is often so easy to become overwhelmed with our own stuff and not see others and their needs anymore.

Job and Mrs. Job decide to have more children.  They take a risk to live again knowing that they may suffer in the midst of their joy.  But Job’s relationships are completely shifted.  He now treats his daughters with value like his sons.  He no longer has slaves or servants. I think these changes are significant.  His life has been transformed to a better life even though he was depicted as the “most faithful” man God knew.

When I started the series on Job, I hoped to help people have some wisdom or answers about suffering. That didn’t really happen.  What was revealed as I studied this text, was that suffering has always happened and people have always struggled with it.  Job doesn’t explain why we suffer but Job helps us respond to suffering.  Job is allowed to cry out to God, be frustrated and angry with God and even despair in the midst of his suffering.  What he doesn’t do is stop believing in God or stop talking to God.  His heart is not hardened as a result of his suffering. God never doubts Job’s faithfulness.

We are also taught how NOT to respond to the suffering of others through Job’s friends.  They say all the wrong things and even blame his suffering on him.  I think that often we say things to others in the midst of their grief that throw up roadblocks between them and God.  In our effort to have something to say, we hurt them with words like “God needed another angel” and similar platitudes.  We have to learn to simply say “I’m so sorry.”  Spending the last four weeks in Job has been emotional and difficult but I am so glad that we took the time to do it.  We learned important things that I hope will help us next time we are in the midst of suffering.

Rev. HeatherFacebooktwitterby feather

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