No, it’s not about my vocation. Nor is it about the crazy hunt most of my dear friends are involved in these days.

It’s about the remarkable Bible character.

You know the story. Job has it all. Riches. A fine family. Good health. Impeccable reputation. All the things we secretly and unconsciously add as valuable puzzle pieces that make up that grand concept of happiness. To add some more pizzazz – he also loves and worships God with a heartfelt devotion.

But that’s what brings him trouble. Satan starts a wager with God, as he assumes that Job’s devotion is just linked to his happiness. God knows his man and is confident to accept the wager, still boundaries in place. In a matter of minutes and days, Job’s life as he knew it treacles away…

Philosophers and theologians pondered long and hard over this, waxing lyrical over the meaning or meaninglessness of suffering. I was struck at a fresh re-reading recently by these thoughts:

  • Theology is never as simple as maths. Job and his friends had a formula worked out, based on what they knew from Scripture. It was correct. But they didn’t have God ‘worked out’. He moves in ways that are mysteriously beyond formulas and axioms.
  • Job’s friends tried to counsel without stopping to take in silence their mate’s plight. They rushed to speak and were all too ready to point out flaws they never examined. A whole waste of words. And God accused them. Ironically it was the prayer of their ‘flawed friend’ that saved them.
  • God was humble and confident (the un-elegant ‘big enough’ could describe that) to respond to Job’s challenge – proving that He adores a relationship with His servants. Although He pointed out Job’s flawed folly – He did it lovingly.
  • Don’t draw conclusions until God puts the full stop. As it looked like things were degenerating with the spiraling speed of a descending roller coaster – everything changes in the end as God restores and enhances Job’s living.

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