Tuesday, January 3, 2012

I Guess There Really Isn't Anything New Under the Sun

Okay, most of the time if I post thoughts about Bible reading, I'll do it here.  However, some thoughts I had about today seemed to fit this blog a little better.  In the first 5 chapters of Job, we meet an upright man named Job who is married with lots of kids, servants and animals.  He serves God with all that he is. Then the devil says that, of course he's good.  He's got it all, why wouldn't he be good?  So God allows the devil to wipe it all out, children, servants, animals, all of it.  Job still sticks with God.  So God allows the devil to afflict Job with sores.

Then Job's buddies show up.  Job cries out with all the pain that is in him, and says that he would be better off if he'd never been born.  The friend's reply?  Seemed to boil down to, well, if you'd have more faith, you'd be okay.

Yeah.

So if I had more faith, I'd be married with kids and the white picket fence? If that couple with infertility had more faith, they'd be the parents of many?  If that mother had more faith, her child wouldn't have died? If so and so had more faith, they'd find that job and stop having to stress about unemployment? If my friend would have just had enough faith, she wouldn't be questioning the existence of God?

Like how that works? If things aren't working out for you, then it's essentially your fault.  You didn't do something well enough, so you're out of luck.  Now that friend doesn't have to think about how it might be him next, because of course the friend has enough faith to keep disaster at bay.  That friend doesn't have to really be there for Job, because, really, it's Job's fault.

Luckily, I don't have any friends like that.  There are well-meaning acquaintances that say things like that at times, but they can be forgiven because they really do want to make you feel better, even though they don't know what they're talking about.

How much better for Job if that friend had been willing to sit down in the ashes with him and mourn with him.  Not only that, but Job's trials were a testament to how great his faith was; they were not due to his lack of faith, but his friends couldn't see that.  Job mourned his circumstances, but he did not curse God.

Patience: the capacity to accept...delay, trouble or suffering without getting angry or upset.


4 comments:

  1. What's hard about this sometimes is the fact that I wonder if I really suffer? I mean...I have questioned whether I actually suffer in my life. I have a husband and five healthy children, a good job, money to pay the bills, a roof over my head...and I still keep faith. But sometimes I wonder if I would still feel like having faith if everything went away.

    I mean, I wondered recently (on my blog) why I have never seemed to have a crisis of faith the way others do or tell me they do. I have never questioned the existence of God nor whether He loves me. The most suffering I could remember having where I might have had a crisis of faith was when I was a kid and my parents divorced and my dad abandoned me (since he lived in R.I. and I lived in KS). But even then, I still had faith.

    Why do some people have sufferings that others don't? I don't know.

    So, I guess that was kind of rambling and I'm not sure what my point was (sorry!) Maybe my point was, "Boy, I'm sure glad I am not JOb!" haha

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  2. Ah yes, that old "blame the victim" approach - so satisfactory to onlookers because then you can believe "well, it can't happen to me - it isn't like it's random and could strike anyone, so-and-so must have done something in order for this to go so wrong for them. *I* am safe."

    One of the books I have found very helpful is "when bad things happen to good people" by ... hmmm - I think it's Rabbi Kushner ?? It helped me to make sense of the faith that God is all-loving, all-knowing and all-powerful, yet there is still so much pain in the world.

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  3. Ugh...hate when people say this. "Just say this prayer for a husband/child!" Didn't work? You must have said it wrong/without sincerity, etc. From the bigger picture, this is the problem with the prosperity gospel, right? Sometimes it just doesn't work out.

    I like that quote...Job mourned his circumstances, but he did not curse God.

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  4. I'm glad I'm not Job! That poor guy. He had quite the trials of faith. To me, he is an inspiration, because he still praised God regardless.

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