Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Me and Job

I loathe my life; I would not live forever.  Leave me alone, for my days are a breath. -- Job 7:16

I am always skittish of verses from Job because you have to be very aware of the context.  In this case, though, it is Job himself speaking, and we pretty well know the context.

Perhaps it is only me, but there are days when I could say this.  Just let me die.  Why does this have to go on and on?  I shouldn’t complain because I don’t have health issues.  Everything in my life is fairly stable.  Yet, I cannot help feel that I disappoint everyone.  I don’t mind screwing things up for myself.  I don’t like to fail other people, cause anguish to others, or cause other people more work or to be burdened in some way.  I would just like for everyone around me to be happy. 

You might look at my desire and think it’s noble or self-sacrificing, but there’s something amiss with it.  Obviously, no matter what I do, it’s not going to make everybody happy.  It’s kind of like the political concept of utopia.  It’s unrealistic.  There’s an aspect of it that attributes more power and significance to my life than is appropriate. 

Job was a wealthy, powerful man.  He was a man who took charge of things and took care of his family.  When Job spoke, people listened.  Surely such a successful man must be wise, and he was.  Even the wisest of us, though, are fools compared to God. 

It’s been my practice since I was a kid to take the heavy end of the load.  I have always taken the hardest, dirtiest part of any task when I could.  Part of that stems from the fact that I worked so much with my father and that he was in his forties when I was born.  He was tough and all for his age, but he was also ready to take it a little easier by the time I was old enough to do man-sized labor.  He let me have those rough jobs, not only because my main skills were brute force and awkwardness, but to toughen me up and teach me.  The older and stronger and tougher I got, the more work I was able and expected to do.  There was nothing wrong with that, but I did get to thinking that I should be able to do about anything and handle it all myself.

That was a pretty simple world on the old farm.  I could have most of the answers most of the time.  The world I live in now is not so simple.  I feel a kinship with Job in this, too.  Job was doing what he knew to do.  Everything worked the way it was supposed to work.  Everything made sense.  Job’s world was straightforward:  Do right and be blessed; do wrong and suffer. 

Except that’s not the way the world is. 

I am not the center of things.  There are billions of other humans alive at this moment.  Billions of others have lived and died while creating, shaping, and shading all that we must face and interact with today.  Aside from humanity, all of creation impinges upon us, from the deer that darts in front of our car to the virus that makes our heads hurt and our noses run. 

My job, the purpose and destiny of my existence it not to fix all that.  I am not a failure if I can’t.  God asks only that I do what I can, that I play my part, and endure.  We really are in something bigger than us, and that’s what the Lord showed Job in the end.  He never answered all of Job’s questions.  He never explained the reasons for his loss and suffering.  He just revealed Himself as the center of it.  It was not about Job.  It’s not about me, either.    


USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Except that’s not the way the world is."

So true. I've seen folks far more righteous than me suffer far more than I have.

when I was at my sickest and close to death, I was also closer to God because just about all I could focus on was my pain, God and my family.

I had no energy to think about anything else.

Yet, and it wasn't my idea, it simply flowed forth the thought I was a blessed man. Blessed far more than most.
That thought became so intense I told just about everyone I talked to, doctors, nurses, janitors, cooks, etc. how much God had blessed me.

Some looked quite puzzled I would say that, others nodded knowingly and some seemed to be thinking hard about what, what the Holy Spirit within me was sayin'.

I wasn't preachin' or nothin' like that, it just always seemed to fit in the short conversations I had, particularly since it became increasingly difficult to talk without going into a seizure and stuttering really bad.

Reading started doin' the same thing.

And yet I truly felt blessed. That was from my heart.
It wasn't bravery as some thought, it was the truth and it wasn't from me but it grew within me.

It gave me peace of mind and beyond, God's blessings. I was ready for anything including death. In fact, I wasn't even concerned about anything else but love, joy, peace, God and family.

Patti would read to me from Job, one of my favorite books, and John, and the Pslams and Proverbs.
All my favorites, and that too was a blessing.

When I eventually didn't die and got better I slowly moved away from God and had less time for Him as I started having the energy to do other stuff like watch Tv.
I'm still very blessed, but I don't feel it as intensely as I did then. And I know precisely why.

God is Good. :)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Sheesh, didn't mean to go on so long.
Outstanding post, Mushroom!

mushroom said...

No problem, Ben. To realize we are blessed regardless, that's amazing grace, indeed. God is Good.