“Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: ‘Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?’” vss. 1-2
The book of Job represents our faith ancestors’ best effort to deal with the injustice of human suffering. It’s a powerful story, one that has been told and retold hundreds of times by succeeding generations. Again and again in the story Job’s friends tell him to acknowledge his guilt, something he refuses to do. For chapter after chapter they argue–suffering is devilishly difficult to deal with and impossible to understand. When we google “suffering” today we find that times have not changed. There are literally thousands of perspectives and explanations–and the words from the Lord are as fitting today as ever, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” Because suffering is universal, each of us has a perspective and can speak to it out of our own experience. But the true meaning of our suffering lies beyond our experience and mere words are inadequate in capturing its essence. There’s a divine mystery in suffering that defies explanation–and somehow it’s connected to our salvation. It’s as though there’s a value to suffering, as though it’s something that is necessary for really being alive. The book of Job seems to indicate that it’s what we go through on the road to true joy–kind of like dying with Jesus in order to live with him!
Thought for the Day: What’s the value of suffering?