Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Enigma of Job

Ainehi Edoro
"Suffering Job 2"
"When I hoped for GOOD, evil came, & when I waited for LIGHT, darkness came. My inward parts are in turmoil & never still; days of AFFLICTION come to meet me. Now my soul is POURED OUT within me; these DAYS OF AFFLICTION have taken hold of me. The night racks my bones, and the PAIN that gnaws at me takes no rest... GOD has cast me into the MIRE, and I have become like DUST & ashes.”

* * *

Poor Job. His hardships (and there were hardships a-plenty) were the product of a bet between God and Satan. There's no sugar-coating it. It's right there in black and white. How unfair is that? Have you ever heard anyone say they just don't like this book of the Bible? That God did Job wrong? Do you ever feel a little bit like Job sometimes? Well, Job's story certainly doesn't give us the warm fuzzies we hope to gain from the Word of God, does it. Or does it?
"That's the comforting thing about Job," my husband said to me once.
"What comforting thing?" I asked, having never heard such a statement about Job before.
"No evil assaults us that God hasn't allowed," he said.
Oh, well, that makes me feel much better. God knows all about my suffering, He allows it, He can stop it, but He won't. Still no warm fuzzies here. So, Satan can't touch us without God's permission. WHY DOES GOD GIVE HIM PERMISSION??? Cripes. This isn't rocket science. Does God love me, or not??

I get confused. I get sucked into the belief that love is only about pleasant feelings, that it has nothing to do with suffering and pain. We're so quick to forget that the greatest act of love the world has ever known was one of sheer suffering and pain, the worst most unbelievable suffering anyone could ever imagine, wrought with bitter betrayal, total abandonment, undeserved shame, gut-wrenching physical torture, and grief enough 
to make the Son of God Himself cry.

Jesus' perfect love, for us and for His Father, led Him into suffering for our sake, so that, in the end, you and I could love without tears. But today, love in the world isn't just laughter and warm fuzzies. Just like it was for Jesus, real love is giving your life for one another. It's living in a sinful, fallen world and pressing on through the turmoil and the pain and the suffering to fight the good fight for the sake your brother (1 Timothy 6:12; Philippians 1:23-24), for a good greater than your own comfort and well being.

Look at it this way, Adam and Eve had nothing but warm fuzzies in Eden, and it still wasn't good enough for them. So watch out when Satan tries to tell you what love ought to feel like. Next thing you know, you've bitten into an apple trying to find something that feels better than perfection is. And no, Job wasn't blameless, not after his troubles began anyway. He thought that being blameless entitled him to a better life than he had. That his good behavior and devotion to God meant that God was wrong to allow his suffering. Therein lies his sin. That's why God came to him and shouted quite angrily, “Brace yourself like a man! I will question you, and you will answer ME! Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?!” (Job 38:3-4a)

Eep. And Job sees his error and changes his thinking. And probably his pants.

Here's Job today: a comfort to generations throughout the ages, a model in times of peril. His suffering was for our sake as well as his own. He got the chance to repent, and we have the comfort of his story, and faith through the Word of God. Do you think he'd turn around from his place in heaven with the rest of the saints, smile and say, “It was worth it”? I bet he would. We'll all say the same thing one day, but it's a lot easier to say it on Job's side of heaven than it is on ours. Until then, we know we are forgiven through Christ, and we suffer. It's not a but; it's an and, although it's not the end.

I didn't make this video. It's a little cheesey for my taste, but the song makes a good point.
Careful... it's a tearjerker. Here's Laura Story's "Blessings."
Suggested verse to repeat to yourself if it's a difficult day is from Isaiah 43:1b
PRC buddies, remember to breathe!
I have called you by name, ----------> 5 count inhale
you are Mine." -------> 5 count exhale
For more on the Enigma of Job, click here.

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