The story of Job

This Sunday we will conclude the story of Job, the blameless man, and all of his misfortunes. Job has cried out to God and demanded an answer. It is not a literal account but a story that prompts us to think about suffering and the mystery of human existence. It underlines the truth that good things do not always happen to good people and sometimes the evil prosper. When undeserved suffering lands at our door, we may need to find new ways to speak of God.

The story of Job therefore can point us to a new paradigm of faith if we are in danger of thinking God is in the business of handing out blessings to those who are good. The man, Job, comes to the point of all his wrestling with God where God answers his pleas by showing up. Previously Job had ‘ideas’ about God, but now he had experience of God.  In Job’s words, “Now I see you.” He has encountered a God who is both imminent and yet transcendent and utterly free.

At the end of the day, our faith is not a transaction so we can get good things in life, nor an insurance policy for the afterlife. Faith is about knowing the God who is with us in all the joys and sufferings of our days. Like Job, we may be brought up short to realise the words we have spoken about God are utterances which we did not understand, and the truth is more wonderful than we could imagine. The task of faith is to be open to ‘the everyday consciousness of God’s deepening presence in our lives and to the transformation that’s meant to effect in us’.[1] None of us know where this adventure may lead, but we are never alone on the journey.

Grace and peace,

[1] From “Praying with the Masters Today” a series of talks given by Bernard McGinn for the World Community of Christian Meditation. You can find the full transcript of these talks on the St Andrew’s Virtual Commons

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