Today's Reading: Job 14-16
I must admit: all this pessimism is downright depressing! Job's talking constantly about the meaninglessness of life and his friends are focusing on "Who sinned that this trouble has come upon us?" (much like the sailors in the book of Jonah who decided to pitch Jonah overboard to calm the sea)
Job reminds me of a woman I once knew named "Torey." When our daughter was born, we were all rejoicing and "goo-goo-gaaing" over her. Torey walked right up to this cute little bundle in my arms and declared, "Born to die. We're all born to die." I was taken back by this proclamation. It is true, we all will die. Though I knew my daughter would one day die, I thought it short sighted to see only gloom and doom. What about the joys, gifts and blessings this child would bring?
"Man, who is born of woman, is short-lived and full of turmoil." 14:1
This kind of nihilism is not the way I want to start my day. Job needs a good dose of Philippian "Rejoice in the Lord always" put in his morning coffee!
True, our days are numbered and we can't add to them (14:5); but we have opportunities daily to bask in God's blessings, even when we are suffering or sorrowful...I really am a Pollyanna, aren't I?
While Job is obsessing on gloom and doom, sitting in his victim's puddle of hate, his friends seem obsessed with the question of guilt.
Eliphaz seems to think that every suffering that comes along is rooted in some personal wrong doing and is thus punishment for disobedience. Now, I know that this is a popular explanation for evil, but I can't swallow this "wisdom" hook, line and sinker either.
True, theologically, suffering and curses are the result of the "fall," but Jesus suffered greatly and was without sin. He suffered abandonment, being misunderstood, and rejected. He lived without a home base, had achy feet, went hungry, saw sorrow and pain, and suffered physically, even death. But he did it all willingly..."I have the power to lay down my life and to pick it up again."
Is Job's main suffering his lack of control over the situation? his being in the dark regarding the purpose of what he is experiencing? Is his soul out of control as it has a "fit?" Does he need someone to sing, "Be still my soul" to him?
I'm embarrassed to say, I find some of Eliphaz's comments more to my thinking than Job's. Even though I know the "friends" are seen historically as the "unfaithful ones," I can't help but embrace some of the phrases that come from their mouths.
My favorite one is this rhetorical question: "Are the consolations of God too small for you, even the word spoken gently with you?" 15:11
Perhaps, I've sung "Count your blessings" too many times and this is my initial response. I pray God will never put me through anything that would challenge that naivete, though.