As we begin a week of reflecting on the Book of Job, we start off with what some theologians believe is one of the most important questions posed in the Bible: Do we serve God only for ourselves and our own benefit?
In other words, do we worship well when times are good, but not so well when times are bad?
How do we respond to suffering?
Job had it pretty good. His family was healthy, his land plentiful and in terms of his wealth, he was a pretty rich man.
The book starts with a famous challenge by satan who tells God that Job may appear to be a faithful servant, but only because he had been blessed with with plenty of possessions and wealth.
God – who usually refuses to be put to a test – makes an exception in this book and allows Satan to rain down all kinds of tragedies to see if Job would lose his patience and his obedience to God.
Isn’t that a test we all face at some point in our lives?
It is so easy to be faithful, kind and loving toward others, as long as God has taken care of us first, right? But the minute things go wrong, we start second guessing our lives, our passions and our priorities. Maybe we stop praying … what good has it done anyway? Maybe we stop going to Church … waste of time anyway. Maybe we stop believing in God?
The story of Job is truly not unique. I’ve heard it many times in various forms over the years in my work as an adult faith minister. People come to our retreat weekends and tell us about the highs and lows of their journey of faith. Many are surprised to learn that their faith journeys are very similar to others.
Everyone has been put to the test of Job … or will at some point. Try as we might to cure all sorts of disease, there is little chance to cure the sufferings that we all seem destined to have.
That is what the book of Job is all about. So pay close attention to the readings this week. There are lot of questions raised and difficulties addressed. It’s not an easy book to understand, but try hard to give it a go.
Because just like Job, the devil is planning to put us to the test as well.
Will we survive and keep our faith?