“There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil,” Job 1:1. Job is a remarkable character. An incredible man worth listening to. When all the world around him suggested that God was not just, Job insisted otherwise. I really don’t know that I would have been as steady as Job in the same circumstances. As a matter of fact, I have been much less steady in much easier circumstances!
The story of Job confronts us with many questions about the interaction between God and mankind. Just last week my children came rushing into my bedroom at 10 pm because of Job! Every now and then they go to bed listening to Focus on the Family’s “Adventures in Odyssey”. The last narrative on this particular CD was about Job. They interrupted my late night reading with, “Mom, it feels like Satan is watching me!” and “Why would God do that to Job? He didn’t do anything bad!” I have never heard anyone preach a sermon on Job. It’s much easier to avoid our doubts and questions concerning the story. But honestly, have you ever wondered why these calamities came upon Job? It would be easy to reconcile his pain if we were able to view it as some sort of chastisement for bad behavior. That is the way we religious think: If you are good you get candy; if you are bad you get a spanking. Logical right! Or maybe not.
We humans tend to categorize life. Good or Bad. Beautiful or Ugly. Free or Captive. And yet we are tripped in our observances when what appears Good, Beautiful, and Free on the outside is found out to be Bad, Ugly and Captive within. So then, we may conclude that appearances can be deceiving. What seems obvious is not always so. Our categories run into contradictions and our belief systems run into grey. What I can tell you about Job is that if you live inside of categories, his life story will certainly blow them to pieces. Just like it did with my children. To them, God is nice and Satan is mean so why would a nice God let a mean Satan do that to an innocent Job? I’ll admit I have the same question.
We might have to enlarge our perspective to answer this. What is the human story really about? A big God and a little population of humans? How close is this big God to our small circumstances? Does He sit well above us in the heavens or is He near to our person? Are we merely His Divine footrest or is He panting to lie down beside us? How then do I reconcile the perspectives? I will have to view earth from both higher up and more intimately personal.
To be continued…