A message for the week starting on Sunday 17 October 2021
Lectionary Week: Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost
Prescribed Texts: Job 38:1-41, Psalm 104:1-9,24,35, Hebrews 5: 1-10, Mark 10: 35-45
Focus Text: Job 38:1-41
Suffering drives people of faith to ask desperate questions: “Why me? Why this? Why does God allow this? Where is God?”
These are questions that might concern their God-fearing friends. They might even feel pressured into quick answers or pious platitudes: “This is God’s answer to your questions and suffering . . .”, “God chooses His most beautiful flowers for Heaven’s garden . . .”, “God will not let you face more than you can carry . . .”, maybe even “Perhaps there is something in your life separating you from God?”
These comments do not seem like answers to those who are suffering. This was true in the time of Job, and it is true today. Job asked questions, his friends answered – answers that did not really make sense in his predicament. When God speaks in our focus text, it seems like a strange answer. It even seems as if God did not hear Job’s questions at all. God does not answer like a human would. Rather, He reveals Himself.
When Moses asked God what he should tell the suffering slaves in Egypt, “God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (Ex. 3:14).
In God’s discussion with Job in Chapter 38, it is as if God says “Job, do you know who I am?” or maybe “This is who I am, Job!” Or in the language of Exodus: “I am who I am!”
The surprising thing is that this seemingly strange answer brings the peace that none of the other responses could. It has been described as follows: “Like a little boy hitting his fists against the broad chest of his Father, Job’s tirade calms, and he becomes aware of the arms of God holding him, in spite of everything.”
To think about: What is our calling in the midst of suffering? Maybe it is simply this – that we help those who are hurting to discover something of God’s “I AM”, simply by “being there” for them.
Written By: Ms Lyn van Rooyen, former Director of CABSA, based on a reflection written by Rev. Nelis du Toit