The Old Testament Lectionary passage for this week is Job 1:1; 2:1-10. In these verses we engage some of the most difficult questions a thinking human being must deal with. In these introductory verses we are told of a struggle. The struggle of Satan trying to prove God wrong and God actual entertaining Satan’s taunts.
In these introductory verses we are introduced to the reality of powers that surround us which we cannot see. Powers that invade our intimacy. Powers that look for our weaknesses. Powers that enjoy inflicting suffering. So why does God allow such powers to operate? How can this be good? No easy answers here.
Folk theology states that these powers exist to punish. If you do bad things then you will reap bad things. But in our passage, Job is called blameless and upright. Job is moral. Job seeks to be right with God. What does Job get for his faithfulness, for his loyalty? Job gets suffering. Job gets pain. Job gets silence from God. Job gets friend that want to fix Job. They challenge Job’s integrity. They magnify Job’s struggle by using their relationship rather than being a relationship. Empathy is not seen as a value. Intimacy is limited by personal perspectives on theology. Job’s cries seem to fall on deaf ears? What does God feel as Job suffers?
Here is the challenge for us. We all face the possibility of being a Job. We can be faithful and live for righteousness and yet find ourselves in the most painful of circumstances and the agonizing of situations. The question in the state is just what is our love of God based upon? What will we endure for the sake of faith? What can we do to prepare for testing and tribulation, suffering and sorrow that WILL (not might), that’s WILL, come our way?
In Job we find the journey toward perfection. In Job we find the dark night of the soul that leads to the deepest level of faith. In Job we find question without answers and answers which have no questions. For the next four weeks, Job will guide our worship. Where will the experience lead us?
We will find some amazing things in the weeks ahead. We will find grace in the most unlikely of places. We will find confidence and comfort in places which we often ignore in our lives. We will find out, even in the silence and the questions and the doubt and the struggles, mercy has been built in. Even in the ashes, we can worship in wonder.