Monday, June 18, 2012

Pentecost 4b - Job 38:1-11

Job 38:1-11
After 37 chapters Job finally gets his day in the celestial court, although after God’s opening argument Job surrenders and cops a guilty plea, “Surely I’ve spoken of things too great for me to understand.” (Job 42:3) God’s “where were you…” might mean the question is not even ours to ask. It certainly means God doesn’t have to answer our “why?” We, like Job, his wife and his friends, would prefer a more predictable process where we can explain and in that sense control what happens to us. At the very least being the cause of what happens to us means we have someone to blame and in a weird way there is some comfort in that. But when life (i.e. God) refuses to play by any rules we can identify or codify we are tempted to complain bitterly like Job does while protesting his innocence, or hold onto our theologies more tightly like his friends do, or take Job’s wife’s advice and “curse God” (Job 2:9) and let ourselves and faith die. But I think living “I have spoken of things too great for me to understand” allows us to face circumstances beyond our control with a faith that depends fully on the One who was there when the foundations of the earth were laid. And the reason we can live without question or answer is because the God revealed in the cross asked the question for us “My God! My God! Why have forsaken me?” and answered it in “It is finished.” That does not mean we live through sorrow and pain as a prelude to the hymn of heaven but rather that we sing the forever future song in the face of the “light and momentary troubles” (2 Corinthians 6:17) of this life even when they are heavy and drawn out and we must sing through gritted teeth and weeping eye.

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