How will you answer?

15 07 2011

Today is the return to find out what happened to Job.  (If you missed the previous posts, you might like to catch up by entering “Job” in the search box on the right hand column of this page.  View from the mezzanine is the starting point.)

Job, a man of integrity and faith, is placed in a setting of immense suffering.  His friends offer their condolences in the form of speeches which by and large miss the point.  They are “fixers” who acclaim expertise and wisdom on living.  Who hasn’t met these people, the ones who show up to tell us what’s wrong with us and what we must do to get better?  (Remember this saying of Eugene Peterson’s the next time you meet one of them – “Sufferers attract fixers the way roadkill attracts vultures.”  Feel better?)

 Job’s pain and suffering receives a context in chapters 38-42 of the book.  God speaks out of a whirlwind in such a way that Job is silent in worship.  He doesn’t receive an answer to the why question, but he is forced to look up, away from himself and his circumstances,  to the mystery of the One who is greater.

I guess if there’s a soundtrack to Job’s encounter with God in these chapters it might be Vidor’s Toccata in F.  This majestic organ piece begins with a whirlwind of sound. At bar 9 the theme in the pedals enters and sits solidly while all above is fluttering semiquavers.  God himself undergirds the storm and plays “I am faithful” in slow deep notes below the flutter of life above.

“Although God may not appear to us in a vision, he makes himself known to us in all the many ways that he describes to Job – from the macro to the micro, from the wonders of the galaxies to the little things we take for granted.  He is the Creator of the unfathomable universe around us – and he is also the Creator of the universe inside of us. And so we gain hope – not from the darkness of our suffering, not from the pat answers in books, but from the God who sees our suffering and shares our pain.” (Eugene Peterson) 

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