Job's story shows how God's love works for us
42Then Job answered the Lord: 2"I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3"Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?" Job 42:1-2
Job's one of the more popular figures out of the Old Testament, that time before Jesus. And whenever Job's name comes up, it's usually about "the patience of Job."
Job is described as: "Blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil…" yet Job's character had come under attack, he'd lost his financial resources and his loved ones, his health had failed; Job was an innocent man who suffered loss and endured pain through no fault of his own.
Understandably it overwhelmed him to the point he "cursed the day he was born." And maybe this is reading between the lines, but it could be his "cursing" didn't stop there. Job gave God an earful as Job fumed about his plight, thereby suggesting this is also about the patience of God.
The past 19 months of COVID have overwhelmed us and has left lots of us fuming for any number of reasons. And like Job, some of that may be directed at God.
It's comforting to remember that the power of God's love went to work as God gave Job the space Job needed in crying out.
Coming to the end of Job's story — after chapters of misery — we hear a heartwarming change in tone from Job as we reach a happy ending.
So, looking at the entire story of Job brings us to: is this a denial of our right to question God — or — this was a correction to Job's too-limited understanding about God's favor; thinking it can be reduced to either guilt or innocence.
How about both? As whether we're willing to question God will lead us to learning more about the love of God?
Case in point using us as the object lesson. How many of us have said that upon entering heaven, the very first thing we're going to do is ask God about (fill in the blank)?
Starting there, convinced that we can ask questions of God, we open ourselves to more and more circumstances that just don't always fit neatly into our strait-laced either/or categories.
But then can we really expect to put God's infinite love and amazing grace made real in Jesus Christ into the categories we create?
Time and again the ministry of Jesus Christ gives us glimpses of the power behind this infinite love and amazing grace.
When Jesus was in Jericho, a blind beggar cried out to Him "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" but the crowd sternly ordered the man to be quiet. Yet ignoring their limited understandings, Jesus stopped and said, "Call him here."
Where the crowd wanted to stifle the man, Jesus answered him "Go; your faith has made you well" and immediately the blind man regained his sight and followed Jesus.
Once they saw this man mattered to Jesus, the full power of God's love changed their attitude as they said, "Take heart, get up, He is calling you." They understood that he had better matter to them as well and they went from discouragement to encouragement.
For this crowd that stood on their own understandings by trying to dismiss this man by keeping his demands quiet, Jesus neither scolded them for their own blindness to human need nor did He call their faithfulness - or lack of it — into question.
With Jesus being much more gracious to the crowd than they had been to the blind man, the teaching came as Jesus took the crowd from how dare one ask a demand of God, to exposing them to the company His love includes and commands them to keep.
And what about us in these divided and chaotic times that have us fuming? Are we quick to stifle or deny others simply because of how some tell us to see them? Those who sometimes issue their opinions as declarations about how God sees them? Or are we willing to open ourselves in seeing all others as Jesus sees them?
Mike Wilson is the pastor at Prineville Presbyterian Church. He can be reached at 541-447-1017.
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