“I was living quietly until he shattered me. He took me by the neck and broke me in pieces. Then he set me up as his target, and now his archers surround me. His arrows pierce me without mercy. The ground is wet with my blood.” 16:12
I’m so uncomfortable with the book of Job. It unravels my normal studying of the Bible (probably not ideal reading this two chapters at a time, by the way) while tangling up my understanding of God. From human perspective, what Job said above is true. He was living quietly until God shattered his life. You can’t take the book of Job and apply the verses to your own life. It’s not literal, and it’s not even relatable. Or is it?
Lots of people could cry out these accusations. Claiming God has torn apart their lives. Their marriages dissolving, their bodies ravaged by cancer or their abusers relentlessly hurting them.
“I need someone to mediate between God and me, as a person mediates between friends.” 16:21
For now, I’ll read this verse and be thankful I’m on the other side of history, when Jesus has come and gone. We have that mediator, who steps in and advocates for our humanity. I wonder if he voices just how hard it is to be in relationship with people when your own personality gets in the way. Or what it’s like for your flesh to feel sick or bones to be broken. I wonder if he comes to our defense when we act out of fear or insecurity.
It’s weird, isn’t it? Imagining this dynamic of human suffering, God’s role and Jesus’ place? I can’t begin to understand it, but I’m thankful the book of Job is in the Bible. For me, it brings up more questions than it provides answers. But it also reminds me of a truth I’m always trying to escape: being loved by God does not excuse you from pain or suffering. There are millions of layers to that sentence, but even embracing that one line is hard for me. I want to avoid the pain, the hardship, the discomfort, the mourning and the sorrow. Being that way creates so much gratefulness for Jesus. He embraces our suffering, stepping into our humanity willingly.
Where have you experienced God’s presence in your suffering?
And, something that is an interesting ride to climb on, when have you felt like God created suffering in your life? How did things unfold?