Scripture: Job 12:1, 14:1-22
Key verses: (14:7, 10) For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease…But mortals die, and are laid low; humans expire, and where are they?
Reflection: Are you having a hard day? A hard week? A hard year? So was Job! He had lost his sons and daughters and all of his flocks. His body was covered with sores. His wife suggested “Curse God and die.” (In seminary a friend and I formed the CG and D club in his memory!) Three friends come to Job and offer their misplaced wisdom about the cause of his suffering and how he should respond.
Sometimes we have CG and D days, weeks or years!
There is a cultural idiom about the patience of Job but if you read the book carefully you recognize Job wasn’t very patient. He whines. He complains. He laments. In today’s passage he laments what appears to be the futility of human life. Even a tree, if cut down, might sprout again. But, according to Job, humans don’t have even that hope.
As disciples of faith we might be tempted to argue with Job. We believe in resurrection. Eternal life is a stunning contrast to his lament about human death. But perhaps the good news here is that Job was able to lament in faithfulness. He doesn’t give up on his relationship with God even though his life is falling apart. He whines. He complains. And God can take it (and doesn’t strike him down for it!). Our ancestors in faith found Job’s story so powerful that they included it in the collection of sacred texts we know as the Bible. Job’s story reminds us that all people, even good faithful people, have bad things happen. Job’s story reminds us that, when bad things happen, we don’t have to turn away from God. We can complain all we want. God can take it.
Prayer: O Lord, this day will be a difficult day for someone, maybe for me. Assure me of your presence even when I experience loss and suffering. Hear my prayers, my laments and my longings. Amen.
Author: Millie Snyder
[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].