Thursday, March 5, 2009

Job Rules

Job is a little bit difficult to follow at times, but not in Chapter 16 when Job delivers one of the great verbal smackdowns of the patriarchal era. It boils down to, "Dude, you guys suck at counseling! If I were consoling one of you on the loss of your family, possessions, and health, I'd try the novel approach of actually trying to make you feel better!

And as I read along with Job's lament over all that he is suffering, his comment from earlier in the book comes back to me: "Will we accept the good from God and not also the bad?" Why is it that when something amazing happens, we credit God; but when something terrible happens, we don't link it to God at all. No, we say, "This is part of God's plan," in a way that really means, "God will come up with a way to make up for these bad things happening." But we don't attribute the badness to God any more than we would blame a doctor for our illness. 

The fact I'm not escaping, the fatal elephant roaming the room waiting to sit on us and kill us, is the fact that we all die. We die. There's a bad, nasty ending awaiting each and every one of us. God knows this. He knew it when He breathed life into Adam that Adam and everyone after him would lose that breath and return to the lifeless dirt. Yay! Do you have a problem with that?

It's not my favorite realization, but God has something better for us than the sheer joy and comfort of avoiding all suffering . . . Him.

Then comes what truly amazes me about Job. He points toward an advocate, arguing on his behalf at the throne of God, as a friend would argue. How did he know? How did he know that Jesus would be arguing the case of all His people?

I'd like to think God gave him that truth in the midst of his suffering, when none of his friends had a single word of comfort for him. I like that. I'm glad I've got more than an inkling. I've got the Bible . . . how can I ignore it so much?

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