Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hakuna Matata

You might not realize it, but you probably do know at least a little bit of Swahili. The phrase made popular by The Lion King, "Hakuna Matata," is really the Swahili way to say, "There are no worries." Job 39 carries a similar vibe to the sentiment espoused by Timon and Pumbaa in the Disney cartoon: Hey, we're animals; what do we have to worry about?

So what's the point, here? This isn't one of those chapters where the logical conclusion hits you over the head with a sledge hammer. Here are some gut reactions that might come to us naturally:

  • The animals listed here don't have to worry, so why should Job? I really don't think God would ask Job to take solace in the carefree nature of the wild kingdom after losing his family, his possessions, and his health. "Sorry about your kids and the hideous boils, but hey, ostriches are fast." Not exactly a bright side there.
  • God cares for the animals, so He'll certainly care for Job. True, but not the point here. The tone of the previous chapter had been the folly of claiming to empathize with or comprehend God. We can't put ourselves in His position. We can't grasp the why behind His actions. We can't even pinpoint His actions. To segue into "Don't worry, I'll take care of you," would be a complete non sequitor at this point.
  • God cares for things you can't, so you don't have to worry about them. Again, this is true, but it doesn't follow from what the general direction of the text. God isn't asking Job to leave his worries to God (although he should); He's correcting Job's skewed view of just how superior God is, how small Job is, and how silly it is for Job or anyone to give their opinions of what God should do.
  • God does have to care for the animals' tiniest needs, and He equips them with their most intricate features. Man has no idea what it's like to truly provide care on the level God provides it. I put this one last, because that's how I read this passage.
God's response to Job here reminds me of a speech a parent might give to a child (or even to an adult who doesn't have kids). Until you become a mom or a dad, you have no idea what it's like to love and care for a baby, a child, a teenager. Actions and inaction that seem completely ridiculous or unfair to our children are motivated by a love that is deep and inexplicable. If we could explain to our kids the pain we feel when they suffer or the extent to which we care, they still wouldn't get it.

I think, though, Job got it. At least he finally understood he couldn't get it. Got it?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Let me know what you think, and, please let me know who you are.