Scripture: Job: 7: 1-21
Key verses: (17-18) What are human beings, that you make so much of them,
that you set your mind on them,
18 visit them every morning,
test them every moment?
Reflection: Suffering compels us to ask some of the hard questions of faith. We go back to some of the most basic questions like, “Who are we?” and move to, “Who are we in relation to God?” This is where we find Job, as he moves from addressing God about this unbearable experience to a reflection on the human condition. Job turns to Psalm 8:4, “What are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?” and comes back with some direct criticism of this view of humanity. Job, in the midst of great suffering, believes that humanity is subject to God’s testing in every moment. Job feels as if the suffering may consume him.
When we were at Outdoor Challenge this summer we were on the high ropes course and found ourselves saying the crazy things we tell people when they are suffering. The high ropes course, especially the V-swing at the end, brings out some deep fears. We found ourselves saying phrases like, “God is there to catch you!” and “Everything is going to be ok!” When we de-briefed, Lydia Farr, who was just 10 at the time, said that we needed to rethink the things we tell people who are scared. Lydia said, “You never know if you will fall and crash because sometimes we do fall. I believe instead that God holds us through the jump and continues to hold us even if we fall.”
Job sits with his suffering and I believe that God sits beside Job and promises to sit right beside us in our pain and suffering.
Prayer: God, in awe-filled love you created us and called us to be a holy people. In loving awe, we discover that, in the midst of our suffering, you are right beside us. Thank you for tolerating our questions and criticism. In your Son’s name we pray. Amen.
Author: Michelle Thomas-Bush
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].