What does it say?
Job is still bleeding pain and angst. Feeling deserted by God and friends, he clings to faith, but wonders why God is silent. I can’t imagine being at life’s lowest moment, feeling that God is silent and my own friends are positive I did something I didn’t do. Job is down and bleeding in chapter 15 as Eliphaz turns him over and relentlessly kicks him in the name of God’s truth. Are these guys friends or truth terrorists? Do you know people like this? I’ve met a couple.
Today’s passage ends with Job still trusting in a God that he can’t see, and who seems to be on vacation and not answering his emails. God won’t stretch us further than we can bear, but Job is redlining right now.
What does it mean?
OK, I get that suffering is part of God’s mission. I’ve given up having to know all the answers. But, something or someone is in the shadows here. Job’s emotions are off the charts, but chapter 16 seems a tad over the top. I’ve never experienced his level of suffering, but wait! I do know someone who has – and more. His name is Jesus. Reflecting on this passage, I glimpse the image of my Savior. This is all part of the opening chapters of God’s story.
Toward the story’s end, the Book of Hebrews is key to understanding Old Testament times. Hebrews repeatedly speaks of Jesus’ suffering, and that his suffering was missional, not incidental. Job’s suffering, or that of anyone else, is infinitesimal compared to what Jesus suffered. He not only paid the price of sin, he BECAME sin (2Cor 5:21) that I might be made God’s righteousness in him.
How will I respond?
What else can I learn about and from suffering? Specifically, how can suffering be missional? Which global partners of our church are currently suffering beyond their control? How can I pray for them? Can I help them or show them love by giving?
How can any suffering be missional? There are immigrants in my city who have come out of great suffering and pain. How might I meet some of them and simply listen to their story? Can I listen without interrupting? Can I keep from preaching at them like Job’s friends and simply be a friend? If God has a purpose in suffering, I know that in his time and his way, he will give me the right moment to open my heart and mouth to speak, love, truth and grace into their lives. Will that be today?