What Job Said

This week I was planning to write an article summarising everything that’s come out of the page called WhyGodAllowsSuffering on the wiki. However, when I came to think about it, I decided to try and add a different way of looking at it instead of gathering it all together just yet.

What I’m doing here is really supposed to be an encouragement to honest, especially with God, and especially about your feelings, on this site and in your everyday life.

You may have noticed I recently added a quote to the front page of the site. It’s a quote from God about Job, and it says, “You have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.” In other words, what Job said was right.

And what Job said was deeply shocking. Bear in mind as you read that God said that Job spoke of him truthfully. Also bear in mind that Job’s friends, didn’t like what he said – this might happen to you.

“The arrows of the Almighty are in me, my spirit drinks in their poison; God’s terrors are marshalled against me.” Job 6:4

“Therefore I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. Am I the sea, or the monster of the deep, that you put me under guard? When I think my bed will comfort me and my couch will ease my complaint, even then you frighten me with dreams and terrify me with visions, so that I prefer strangling and death, rather than this body of mine. I despise my life; I would not live for ever. Let me alone; my days have no meaning.” Job 7:11-16

“He is not a man like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court. If only there were someone to arbitrate between us, to lay his hand upon us both, someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more. Then I would speak up without fear of him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot.” Job 9:32-35

“I will say to God: Do not condemn me me, but tell me what charges you have against me. Does it please you to oppress me, to spurn the work of your hands, while you smile on the schemes of the wicked?” Job 10:2-3

“Though I cry, `I’ve been wronged!’ I get no response; though I call for help, there is no justice. He has blocked my way so that I cannot pass; he has shrouded my paths in darkness. He has stripped me of my honour and removed the crown from my head. He tears me down on every side till I am gone; he uproots my hope like a tree. His anger burns against me; he counts me among his enemies.” Job 19:7-11

“But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.” Job 23:8-9

“As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice, the Almighty, who has made me taste bitterness of soul, as long as I have life within me, the breath of God in my nostrils, my lips will not speak wickedness, and my tongue will utter no deceit.” Job 27:2-4

It sounds weird but I just love these bits of Job – the really bitter, unambivalent complaints against God – accusing him. They inspire me, energise me like no other parts of the Bible. I hope they’re good for you too…

At the end of Job God does not answer these accusations – he just tells Job that he could never understand.

This is the real God – this is Jesus – life is not simple and God never said it was. This is a God I can worship – a God who wants to hear my complaints just as much as my praise – a God who loves me how I am, not how I feel like I ought to be – a God who suffers minute by minute, second by second unimaginably much for the decision he made to create me – a God who knew all this pain would come to him when he made the decision and knew that that pain would not be limited to him, but would be shared by his beloved children – this is the reality of Christianity – it truly provides an answer, not a blindfold to the agony and ecstacy of being.