The Lessons of Job

Promessa

Breno Peck via Compfight

In his book Benefit of the Doubt, Greg argues that the lessons of the book of Job reassure us that God does not lie behind suffering, but he rather is a trustworthy friend who can handle our doubt and pain. If you’re in the midst of grief or suffering, we hope these words will bring you both comfort and courage.

This inspired epic poem doesn’t explain why some people suffer and others do not, but it offers a singularly profound insight into why we ultimately can’t know the reason why. It’s not that God acts arbitrarily, as Job thought. Nor is it that people get what they deserve, as Job’s friends thought. Rather, good and evil and everything else unfold with apparent randomness because the causes that factor into what comes to pass flow out of a cosmos that is unfathomably vast and complex; a cosmos that includes a heavenly realm that sometimes influences events, as it did Job, but that we are not privy to, and a cosmos that is perpetually under siege by powerful hostile cosmic forces, represented by Leviathan and Behemoth.

More importantly, for our purposes, this inspired poetic drama also provides us with a poignant illustration of what it means to have an “Israelite” faith that honors God. It’s not a faith that is centered on right beliefs and pious language. And it’s certainly not a faith that focuses on feeling secure and worthwhile by convincing ourselves that we’re right. It’s rather a faith that is grounded in authenticity and that is therefore unwilling to sweep questions, doubts, and complaints under a pious rug to avoid the pain of cognitive dissonance. It’s a faith that is not afraid of going to the mat with God. (89-90)

Related Reading

How To Seek Theological Truth

If we are really interested in embracing true beliefs, then the last thing we would ever do is to try and convince ourselves that we already embrace true beliefs. A genuine concern for the truth is simply incompatible with a concern to feel certain that one already believes the truth. If a person is really…

Lord Willing? Part 3

In this final segment of Greg’s discussion with Jessica Kelley about her book Lord Willing?, Jessica talks about how to respond to someone who is grieving or in crisis. You can find part 1 here and part 2 here. We’re so grateful that Jessica took the time to share her story with us. We know…

On Suffering and God’s Goodness

Hani Amir via Compfight Seth Haines wrote a guest post on Tanya Marlow’s blog called The Overcoming Kingdom.  He reflects on his young son’s illness and the questions it provoked in him, and the hope he came to in the process. Real suffering challenges our easy answers and drives us to Jesus in a way that…

Speaking of Tragedies

Since we’ve been reflecting on recent tragedies and the varying responses to them, we thought we would add this voice to the mix. This article from the New Yorker points out the differences in media coverage between the Aurora shootings and the shootings at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin. From the article: Sadly, the media…

Where is Human Free Will in the Bible?

The Bible is emphatic on its teaching that humans possess free will and are capable of originating evil. Notice, for example, that in the very first chapter of the Bible God commands humans to be fruitful and exercise dominion over the animal kingdom and the earth (Gen. 1:26). The fact that God must command us…

Honesty, However Ugly

For last week’s sermon at Woodland Hills Church, Greg spoke about the importance of being honest with God about our struggles and doubts. This is part of what it means to be in a genuine relationship with God, and the Bible is full of characters who demonstrate this for us. Is it difficult for you…