Thank You Job

“O that my words were written down! O that they were inscribed in a book! O that with an iron pen and with lead they were engraved on a rock forever! For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at the last he will stand upon the earth and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. My heart faints within me! (Job 19:23-27 NRS)

I am so thankful for the book of Job. I am not thankful for what Job goes through nor can I explain (nor will I try) why Job had the experiences he had. What I am thankful for is what the story has to say to me personally as I go through times of darkness, doubt, depression and defeat. Unlike Job, I can see all kinds of reasons for my life being as messed up as it is. In fact, I can see how I am getting off to easy. However, in Job I find a faith that is willing to remain in relationship even when everything seems to be going wrong.

In our world today it is fairly easy to end up in days of difficulty. I am a 66 year-old white male who made bad investment decisions and so I do not have a “nest egg” for retirement. At 66, I have also found it very difficult to find a job. I am certain my age has a lot to do with my inability to find work. But that is OK. Why is it OK? Because God is God and I know I can trust God’s promise.

God did not promise me a job, but God gave me a calling.

God did not promise me freedom from pain, but God did give me the hope to endure.

God did not promise me fairness in this world, but God did give me grace.

God did not promise me I would not fall, but God did give me the forgiveness to recover.

God did not say I would be liked or appreciated, in fact God promised the opposite. However God did provide the fellowship of the saints and God offers me a place at the table.

God did not say I would be spared difficulty, in fact God promised the opposite. However God did make it clear that I would not face the difficulties alone, even if I was unaware of the Presence watching over me.

Job dealt with the deepest feelings of betrayal and injustice. Job was angry with God. Job was frustrated with God. Job wanted to challenge God.

How was God with all this? God was fine. God is good all the time, all the time, God is good. This is not just a cute saying, it is the foundation of true faith. It is the awareness that comes with spiritual growth. It is the pillar we hold on to with our all as we move toward death, eternity, and the reality of eschatology. Job comes to understand. Thus, Job sets an example for me.

This is the patience of Job.

Morton Kelsey

My summer project is to read all of Morton Kelsey’s works. This is going to be a challenge. Morton Kelsey has been very prolific in his writings. I have already read through six of his books so I am off to a good start.

Why read Morton Kelsey? I believe Morton Kelsey is perhaps one of the most insightful spiritual directors I have ever encountered. His integration of Jungian psychology and his Christian faith has been very inspiring. His insight into the afterlife as well as his understanding of the Kingdom of God in the present offers reader a truly Christian worldview that is both reflective and practical.

The only critique I have of Kelsey is that he repeats some of his stories in several of his books. Perhaps this is deliberate in order to put emphasis on his experience or to provide a strong link to his other work but it can be a bit distracting to an intuitive like me.

Waiting for the Groom

I could never make a living as a blogger. I love to write but I have those times when the last thing I want to do is write something that is to exist somewhere as long as the blogsphere exists. I have been dwelling in one of those times for the last few weeks.

I am remembering a year of life. A year I did not count on. A year in which I had to learn to live with my new handicaps (or physical challenges-I prefer). It has been a year of learning to accept pain not let it control my life. I have learned that I still feel a strong sense of justice and concern for the least of these in our commercial, death-ignoring culture. I have learned that my love for God and the great mysteries that are contained in those words, “love for God,” contain and reveal to those who are willing to prepare to wait for the groom.

There is not much demand for spiritual directors. I am still visiting a new found friend with Alzheimer’s. I am available to a directee seeking spiritual direction certification. Mostly I am waiting, praying, working, and listening. I am waiting for the groom.

Part of waiting for the groom is understanding one faces changes while one seeks and waits. We must have our oil (interpretation is pretty open as to what the oil for the lamps represents in the parable of the foolish bridesmaids, but it is worth thinking about), we must be prepared. First and foremost, along with our prayers we need to seek to discern God’s desire for our choices. The rules of St. Ignatius are a wonderful assistant in such an endeavor. Waiting involves anticipation. We have made the choice to believe Jesus will come for us. We are invited to the wedding. There is a place at the table for us.

Instead of worrying about conspiracy theories, find purpose in experience the love from which we were created. Find God in giving oneself. Trust God who is grace to provide you the strength to hope and to help us with and unbelief that seeks to confuse our minds. Understand that faith is never certain. If one is certain one does not need faith. The time the groom comes is not certain, but we can trust that the groom will come when it is time.

Amen