In recent months, many of us have taken to peering out of our window in the morning and jesting, “I wonder what chapter of the book of Revelation I’ll get to witness today?” But when the sadness and stress hits closer to home, when I’m feeling more weary than witty, I sometimes find myself instead asking, “I wonder what chapter from the book of Job we’ll get to live today?”
Job is a book we don’t hear from a lot as Christians, but we’ve been reading from it all this week in the lectionary and the passage for today (October 2) is particularly glorious. For many of us 2020 has read like a litany of lament. Job, too, had a year like this, and it wiped him out—emotionally, physically, financially. In today’s passage, Job demands to know why. He puts God on the witness stand and expects some answers.
God doesn’t deny Job’s experience. Everything Job has said is true. But God also doesn’t give Job a why. Instead God points to the amazingness of the earth—its seasons and rhythms and intricate structure. How all sorts of creatures and weather patterns find their place in the scheme of it all. And God points out that this also is all true. The grief of the earth and the glory of the earth exist simultaneously in every moment. Sometimes we must take consolation not in the much-desired gift of clarity, but in the wider sense of awe.
I tried to take a stab at linking today’s passage from Job to the many struggles we are facing in our own moment in time, especially around the living of truth. You can listen here.
Also have a new resource available under “Help Yourself” on my website: “Truth & the 2020 Election: Help for Those in the Pulpit and the Classroom.” Check it out and please let me know what else you think might be helpful. This is an especially tough season for preachers and teachers!