Job 42

Last chapter. Job has all his blessing restored.

Job understands that he had no idea what he was talking about when he cursed the day he was born and challenged God to make a case for how his suffering was fair.

God’s presence has given him perspective on his existence and confidence that he is loved by a wonderful powerful God who is right across the details of life.

He takes back what he said, repenting of his words.

It’s still one of the hardest things, putting your victim status on the altar, giving that to God. When he repents, Job is still destitute and covered with sores.

Feeling sorry for your self, poetically disillusioned, is one of the few benefits of things going wrong. But in that we aren’t to sin, it doesn’t give us a get out of jail free card to lash out or be indulgent or selfish.

Jobs acceptance of God’s sovereignty is a remarkable, Christ-like act, like when Jesus stays silent during his trial and death, or – is it in the garden? – when he says ‘not my will but yours father’

I recall a lecturer at uni whose parody of the stupidity of Christianity was ‘i don’t know, I just believe‘. It’s exactly what job is saying, you won’t know, you just have to believe.

We need to wear that with pride and resist the temptation to tie life up with neat moral lessons like an Aesop fable, or a woman’s weekly article.

That remains the friend’s error, trying to construct a fake, watered down Christianity, that makes more sense but cuts out what God is actually saying and doing.

I’ve run my reading of Job in parallel with comments about the things in life that worry me, that I hope will turn out right.

Am I bad at giving up control? I think a lot of human mischief comes from wanting to control more than we can. We justify selfishness and lack of empathy for our need to feel in control of life’s circumstances.

We can wish, hope and pray for things to be different. Jesus cried great sobs wishing he didn’t have to drink his cup of suffering. But he stayed focussed, he drank it as from God.

I was always uncomfortable with the blessing that is restored to job. New kids to replace those he lost. Though we know from life I suppose how that eases the pain of loss without diminishing the uniqueness of the ones who die.

And though we know why it’s fair that job gets back his health, wealth and family, he doesn’t. And because of what he has had revealed of God he doesn’t need to.

The Lord gives and takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord. His first reaction got tested, tortured, questioned but ultimately, he learned not to demand God’s blessing.

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