Saturday, January 16, 2010

Suffering with Job

Every now and then, we are reminded of the reality that bad things happen in life, and there's nothing we can do to stop it. The story of Job is one such reminder in the Bible. It is brutally honest in exploring the idea that we are helpless against the tragedies of life. It flies in the face of conventional wisdom that God will protect the faithful from calamity. Job shows us that faith does not protect us from tragedy. It only determines how we live with it. And I'm intrigued at how Job deals with his. He lost everything: home, family, his own health. And for a long time he waited to hear an response from God as to why God would punish him so badly. His friends tried to convince him that he must have done something wrong to make God angry. Job maintains his innocence. And when he get his chance to speak with God, he complains and confronts God. To which God replies "Where were you when I formed the foundations of the world?" in essence saying, "What do you know about the universe, little creature?" Job is silent. He then moves on to rebuild his life.

Every day, the world is filled with "Job" moments. Some are massive, like hurricane Katrina or earthquakes in Haiti. Some personal, like being diagnosed with cancer or loosing a loved one. All are moments where our support beams (money, family, faith, etc.) are swept out from under us. It causes us to question why a loving, all powerful God would allow such horrors to happen. Thankfully, God is big enough to hear our outcry and accusations of injustice and not be offended. God suffers along side of us and comforts us in gentle ways that no else can. It is one of God's great mysteries that we may never understand.

The Job story is living out in the lives of countless Haitians today. I recall a story about one Haitian man who survived the disaster along with his family and home. He wanted to do something to help in a helpless situation. So he went to the hospital and sat among the victims. He sat with them, held them, and listened to their stories. Such a story inspires me. During times of tragedy, I often lack the words to say and the ability to aid. But "just being there" for someone is something I think I can do.

This pen and ink drawing of Job spends most of its days in my closet. It's not the sort of thing we enjoy hanging over our living room mantle. But every now and then, it gets pulled out for reflection. Some have used it as a visual aid in classes on the story of Job. I guess life kind of goes the same way. We hide the ugly in our closets until we are ready to see it. So I bring it out today to share with you. And so, on this blog where beauty is often displayed, may Job always be with us to remind us and humble us. As dark as this drawing is, it is mild compared to the real portraits of pain and suffering in our world. I pray that when we meet Jobs out there in life, we may have the love to suffer with them.

Peace be with you all.

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