Thursday, May 29, 2008


So, I've been reading Job a lot lately. It's really great. But I'm reading Job, and it's gotta be tough to be like Job, because you are being faithful, but still you're suffering. It's totally the worst feeling ever. And Job has all these "friends" who tell him stuff like, "You are not telling the truth - you're a big sinner, and God is judging you for it" which is such a huge lie, because Job was super righteous. And this other dude, Elihu, told him that the Lord can't twist justice, so what He's doing must be fair and just repayment for Job's terrible sins (Elihu right about a lot of things later on). But none of those guys were absolutely right. In the end, Job was the only one with the right idea - he just praised the Lord even as he questioned what was happening to him (you know, boils, scars, his whole family wiped out). I think the really hard part for Job was loneliness, like what you're going through now. I mean, it had to be hard to watch all of his earthly life fall apart, but I think that what he hated the most was the separation from people who were supportive - his "wise friends" didn't do it, and he felt far from God, and his whole family is dead. He was even outcast from society because of his illness. He was so lonely. Job asks these questions of God, and goes everywhere from other faithful believers to garner advice and guidance. But these guys don't know God's character at all, and at the end we learn that the man who is suffering, whose only friends have turned on him and condemned him, gets blessed with even more awesome stuff than he had at the beginning. And he got three daughters with rockin' names (Jemimah, Keziah, and Keren-happuch). Anyway, what I think is cool about the book of Job is that we have this paragraph at the beginning that's all about how awesome Job's life was, and then a paragraph at the end that tells us how awesome his life becomes. But the other forty-two chapters are all about loneliness and suffering. God has got to be telling us something there. Why would he focus like, ten lines, on prosperity and then pages and pages on suffering? And loneliness specifically? I'm pretty sure he knew we were going to suffer more acutely from loneliness than many other worldly concerns. I mean, think about it. We were created to be in perfect community with God, but that's impossible because of sin. So ultimately, what we suffer from is separation from God because of our sin.

I was just talking to a friend this week about loneliness and how tough it is to be around people but still feel alone. And I was reading Job at the same time. I'm not a theologian or anything, but I like Job and thought about him some.