Job. (The guy in the Bible, not my workplace.)
I led a Bible study at work last Wednesday about the topic of suffering and, believe it or not, Job’s name came up. Go figure. I love the story of Job because it brings me comfort. So, what am I wrestling with?
Three different people in the last 2 months have told me they don’t believe all the stories in the Bible are literal and they all pointed to the story of Job as one of those stories. Two people referred to it as a myth, another as a parable.
Now, before my good conservative church friends allow their blood pressure to get too high, let me tell you what I think starting with the part that might make you think I’ve gone kookier than before…
I’m OK with those people believing what they believe. The reason why is that I have come to believe many things about God and His word and His power and His love (I could go on) much differently than I did before the big storm of my life. I have come to believe that people see things and hear things that a few years ago would have made me think they needed to be in a rubber room. I am open to many, many things people believe about God because I have come to see so much so differently – so I don’t argue with these people who challenge my beliefs, I embrace them because the challenge makes me think, makes me talk to God, makes me search my heart and my connection with God to examine what I believe. Those who challenge me have a very special place in my heart because they challenge me to be more in-touch with the Almighty Lord.
So, here’s where I am on the story of Job after spending some time thinking about it. I believe the story is absolutely real. I need the story of Job to be real because I need to know that he overcame the pain of suffering and was a better person for it. I need to know that he lived with the scars of pain, the memories of pain and still became the person God wanted him to be. You see, for me, if the story is not real then I have no more connection with Job than I do with Batman. If Job isn’t real, he doesn’t speak to my suffering. If Job isn’t real, I don’t even know if God is real and if God isn’t real, there is no purpose to my life. I need to know that God allowed Job’s suffering because God HAD FAITH in his creation, had faith that what He had created in His image could survive suffering by trusting in the Maker and be better for it. I believe Job is real and his story is real and his suffering is real and his redemption is real because I believe that is what the power of God can do…His power can allow that suffering because it is stronger than the pain. And, I want a God who challenges me to grow and to be more than I would be just floating through this life and I want a God who will remind me that He is the greatest and there is no greater, that the one I choose to worship didn’t need me to set the cornerstone of the earth or to create it’s measurements or to tell the sea to stop and go no further and who’s voice rises above the clouds.
Will I continue to wrestle with the story of Job; with the thoughts of my friends who challenge me? I hope so because it will keep me engaged but today, I do not wrestle with the realness of Job’s story, instead of jump in it and splash around in it like kids jump in a pool, full of joy that my Lord can do mighty things in me just as He did with Job.
Grace and peace to you.