Grow Deep: Job Edition

“Those who suffer God delivers in their suffering; He speaks to them in their affliction.” Job 36:15

Introduction

This Lenten edition of Grow Deep dives into the deep water with the Book of Job. This book is among five books of the Old Testament commonly referred to as Wisdom Literature. Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon are written in a style that is uniquely crafted for us to listen and to ponder God’s Word.

Job includes a brief narrative of the historical setting (Chapters 1, 2, and 42), but the vast majority of the volume is an exploration of one’s relationship with the Lord and life’s toughest--and often unanswered--questions. It is said that Job is a book about suffering; I like to say it is a conversation of faith.

Job is challenging and gritty with cries of faith. Job and his friends struggle over the issues. Sometimes their thoughts are inspired by God’s Spirit, and often they are deceived by human emotion and philosophies. As you read Job, be aware that not every conclusion of Job and his friends is a true picture of our relationship with God. They often stumble in their thinking. Anger and even arrogance pour from their lips. These men struggle with so many questions, but so few answers.

As a pastor I often counsel people who are struggling with unanswerable questions. Job is a friend I share with those who are suffering. His questions open new roads--rocky though they may be--to take my faith journey with God. I believe God inspired Job to help us bring our no-holds-barred, take-the-gloves-off questions to God. God has compassion on me; He listens to me rant about things I can’t possibly understand. That’s grace! He invites me to trust Him with my most troubled thoughts. And He just listens to me, even when I’m speaking in ignorance. Like Job’s friends did during their first seven days with him, God remains silent. I tell those I counsel, Job’s friends did the most important thing in those first seven days. They came to be with Job and suffer beside him. The trouble began when they started talking and trying to answer his questions!

Job is a difficult read without one eye on Jesus. For this reason, we read Job, side by side, with verses about Jesus. So bring your suffering, your questions, your tears, and your tantrums. Sit with Job, and fix your eyes on the cross where Jesus suffers with you.

Jesus, I will ponder now on Your holy passion;
With Your Spirit me endow for such meditation.
Grant that I in love and faith may the image cherish
Of Your suff'ring, pain, and death, that I may not perish.

 

Pastor Bill Geis and the Adult Ministry Team
Lutheran Church of Webster Gardens
January 2016

 

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