Reflection 10/17: Job and Jesus
Dear Beloved Community of St. John’s,
How deep into suffering would we need to be thrown in order to curse God? Or to walk away from God?
That is the place where Job is pushed. Job’s friends gang up on him to convince him there is some grave sin he’s committed to have earned such a horrific punishment. As afflicted as Job is, he holds firm. He argues with his friends that they are wrong. Job has no sin to repent of. His torment is beyond what can be explained merely as fault and punishment. He won’t curse himself or curse God. We know that Jesus didn’t deserve his suffering and death. When he cried out to heaven, at the same moment he was able to forgive those who crucified him. Just so, Job. Job will not abandon God. Job believes that God deserves our gratitude for the good that happens to us, and doesn’t deserve our blame when our lives go wrong. That is the heart of grace.
Grace flies in the face of all our human capacity to understand. The measure of our faith is our endurance in the face of heartbreak, in our ability to keep resolute, and in our willingness to hold God harmless for the evil that befalls us. Job was driven to the chasm of despair, but he kept faith in his relationship with God, no matter how tenuously.
For Christians, Job and Jesus are kindred stories. Even in our most parched moments, we should always look for grace, healing, and mercy. This is a testament to our faith and our measure as human beings. The story of Job is so old that it existed before the theology of redemption and resurrection. Today, blessedly, we can sing, “All my hope on God is founded.”