Death. Illness. Divorce. Unexpected. Undeserved. In this world there is going to be suffering and pain. As a person of faith, we are not exempt from that undeniable fact. What do we do? Where is God when the pain is unbearable and the night so long? How do we reach out to others with something more than platitudes? It has been said that theology begins in the experience of suffering. At the very least, debilitating suffering challenges our images of success and security, and invites us on a quest for something solid and dependable when the foundations of our lives are shaking. The book of Job emerges from one person's unexpected encounter with suffering. Job seeks God's presence, and to find a God he can trust again, he must jettison his previous images of God. - Bruce Epperly
Paperback: 110 pagesPublisher: Energion Publications (December 10, 2014)
By Dubious Disciple on January 5, 2015
I have a love/hate relationship with Job. If I’m reading an insightful exposition, one which highlights the deep, poetic messages of the book, I love Job. If I’m reading a dry commentary drawing traditional conclusions, I want to chuck Job in the round file.
Today I love Job again.
Epperly doesn’t pull punches, yet his writing is tender and honest. As he explains, reading Job is not for the faint-hearted. It is a theology which emerges from the vantage point of excruciating and undeserved pain. It is written in the place where the rubber meets the road. And it is the experience of every man and woman on earth.
The question of why remains unanswered. Are we really supposed to believe that Job’s intense pain is the result of God and Satan sharing a friendly wager? Is God really that amoral, acting no differently than the arbitrary behavior of the surrounding nations’ deities?
God’s ways are beyond our comprehension. Job’s spiritual growth requires stepping out of his comfortable paradigm where the universe is intricately structured, where goodness is always rewarded and evil is always punished, so that he can embrace the unknown and unsolvable … while retaining an intimacy with God even in times of pain. In this chaos, Job finally finds peace.
Here’s an interesting observation by Epperly: “I have found that many people are more reticent to question God’s omnipotence, his unrestricted ability to achieve his will, than God’s love. They can live with God causing cancer or a devastating earthquake, but worry that a loving God might not be powerful enough to insure that God’s will be done…”
Read this one; it’s a journey you don’t want to miss. You may find yourself losing faith in the God you thought you knew, only to find the living God. Comfort hides in deep waters.