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Immerse: Poets - Week 15

Immerse: Poets - Week 15
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events tells the tale of three children whose
parents suddenly passed away in a fire. The children were placed in the custody of a
sinister relative, Count Olaf, who repeatedly attempts to steal their inheritance by causing
“unfortunate” things to happen to them.
The life of Job seems like one more-than-unfortunate event after another. We learned
earlier this month what these events were and the reason they happened: Satan was trying
to get Job to curse God. In a way, Satan really was trying to steal Job’s inheritance by
attempting to separate Job from God.
This week’s reading places us right in the middle of a discourse between Job and his
friends, who are convinced that righteousness and prosperity are correlated. Because of
their conviction, they in turn attempt to convince Job that his suffering is directly caused by
his sinful behavior. But Job 1:1 informs us that Job was blameless and full of integrity, that
he feared God and stayed away from evil. So here are Job’s “friends,” trying to find reason
upon reason for Job’s suffering, when all Job needs is their presence and comfort as he
desperately waits to hear from God, who is the only One who knows why anyone’s suffering
is truly happening.
Recently, I’ve been reminded of testimonies of friends and loved ones who – in the midst of
their suffering – have been told, “You just need to have more faith,” as if they didn’t have
faith already. Well, Job’s story is evidence that a righteous person can have all the faith in
the world and still suffer. So, when “what I fear comes up on me” (3:25) I hang on to some
encouraging truths drawn from the life of Job:
1) Hardship does not necessarily indicate guilt. Job was blameless before God (1:22; 2:10).
2) In Job’s suffering he was careful not to curse God (1:21-22).
3) Job felt free to speak out and to question God’s motives (10:1-ff.).
4) Job was surrounded by friends who were just trying to help, but whose words ultimately
hurt rather than provided comfort.
5) It’s normal to want God to give you a reason for your suffering. Job wanted God to give
him a reason.
6) It’s normal for God to be silent and withhold reasons for suffering. That doesn’t mean He
is not working.
7) Even if God is silent, He still sees you.
Even if no one else truly understands, God sees you. Even if all you’re hearing is words from
friends and loved ones who are just trying to help, and all they’re doing is making it worse, God
sees you. Even if you’re crying out to Him and all you want is for Him to tell you why this is
happening to you, He hears you. In the midst of suffering, there is only one true Comforter, and
He does not ignore the cries of the afflicted.