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

Speaking of Doubt

Xava du via Compfight As long as we’re on the topic of faith and doubt, here’s an excellent piece by Richard Beck on The Gifts and Benefits of Doubt. Are you struggling with doubt and feeling like a spiritual loser for it? We think you’ll appreciate Beck’s insight on this. From the article: The assumption…

Tags:

Did God use Satan to test Job?

Question: In Job 1:21 and 2:10, Job seems to accept “adversity” from God while continuing to trust him. Job blames his troubles on God (i.e. “He shattered me” [16:12], “He breaks me down on every side” [19:10], “For he performs what is appointed for me” [23:14]). In Chapters 1 and 2, God even seems to…

Why We Can’t Know Why Bad Things Happen

Science has demonstrated that the slightest variation in a sufficiently complex process at one point may cause remarkable variations in that process at another point. It’s called chaos theory. The flap of a butterfly wing in one part of the globe can be, under the right conditions, the deciding variable that brings about a hurricane…

Some News and a Giveaway!

We’ve got some exciting news for you. Starting next month, ReKnew will be sending out a monthly e-newsletter to those who are interested in getting a little something extra from our ministry. We’ll be including a personal video message from Greg in each issue as well as other news and updates. If you’re interested in receiving…

Conference: Faith, Doubt & the Idol of Certainty

We’re really excited about Greg’s book, Benefit of the Doubt, coming out in September. In fact, we’re SO excited that we want to invite you all to a conference we’re holding September 27-28, 2013 at Woodland Hills Church. You can get all the information you could ever hope for by clicking here. We’ll be exploring the relationship between faith…

Loving God With All Of Your Mind

Rebecca-Lee via Compfight David D. Flowers posted this essay on loving God with your mind that reflects our stance on intellectual integrity as we approach Scripture. It even features a video clip of Greg talking about maintaining humility when we encounter ideas that are new to us and challenge our current understanding. It’s well worth…