Book of Job Sermon Series Underway This Fall

Posted by on Aug 18, 2018 in Featured

If you or someone you love has suffered, you will want to join us for our new series on the Book of Job.   We will explore Job’s struggles and ask whether or not he was right to stake everything on a God who allows such pain in the world.  Job gives us permission to ask honest questions about our suffering.

 

Why or Whether?

   Pain fills the world.  Last month Tia Coleman lost 9 family members in a tragic duck boat accident in Missouri.  Her loss reads like it came straight from the Book of Job.  In the opening of Job, we read that “a great wind came across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead.” (1:19)  Job lost 10 children.  Mrs. Coleman lost her husband, three children, her uncle, nephew, mother-in-law, father-in-law and sister-in-law.

   Pain leaves us grasping for answers.  We want to know the reasons for our suffering, we want God to tell us why?  The why question is amplified when we see other stories end on a positive note.  Why did the soccer team trapped in a cave in Thailand get out safely when so much could have gone wrong?  One of answers that tempts us is that the boys were more innocent or more deserving, while those who suffer may have done something to deserve their fate.

   Job’s “friends” counsel him along such lines.  In their view, Job must have done something wrong, he must have sinned, to deserve the horrors inflicted upon him.  But we are told right up front that Job is a righteous man.  He has done nothing wrong to bring this suffering upon him.  Rabbi Kushner asked the question this way in his famous book:  “Why do bad things happen to good people?”  Job is a good person.  Presumably Mrs. Coleman was a good person too.

   Rabbi Kushner answers the problem by teaching that God isn’t powerful enough to do something about evil or he would.  Job doesn’t agree. He testifies that he knows God can do all things, that no plan of his can be thwarted (42:2).  In fact, Job constantly asks for an audience with God in order to receive some explanation.  If Job felt that God were powerless, he would feel more resigned to accept his fate; instead, Job’s main issue with God is that God has denied him justice (27:1).

   Pain messes with our understanding of God’ justice:  Is God fair?  Why doesn’t he intervene more for the good guys?  But God wants us to ask a different question, one closer to the central theme of Job—whether or not we will serve and love God even when pain and suffering come?  When pain is inexplicable and seemingly meaningless, will we still love God then? Job takes this difficult path.  He tells his wife:  “the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.  May the name of the Lord be praised.” (1:21)  The answer to suffering may well be elusive, but our hope in God doesn’t have to be.