Suffering Countenance


There is a rain cloud above Job and people can see it.  Do our responses to our circumstances lead others to have less faith in the Lord?  People are watching.  Do you have the strength to say ‘the Lord gives and the Lord takes away – blessed be his name?’

1 “But now they mock me,
men younger than I,
whose fathers I would have disdained
to put with my sheep dogs.

9 “And now those young men mock me in song;
I have become a byword among them.
10 They detest me and keep their distance;
they do not hesitate to spit in my face.
11 Now that God has unstrung my bow and afflicted me,
they throw off restraint in my presence.
12 On my right the tribe attacks;
they lay snares for my feet,
they build their siege ramps against me.
13 They break up my road;
they succeed in destroying me.
‘No one can help him,’ they say.
14 They advance as through a gaping breach;
amid the ruins they come rolling in.
15 Terrors overwhelm me;
my dignity is driven away as by the wind,
my safety vanishes like a cloud.

16 “And now my life ebbs away;
days of suffering grip me.
17 Night pierces my bones;
my gnawing pains never rest.
18 In his great power God becomes like clothing to me;
he binds me like the neck of my garment.
19 He throws me into the mud,
and I am reduced to dust and ashes.
20 “I cry out to you, God, but you do not answer;
I stand up, but you merely look at me.
Job 30:1, 9-20

Job has gone from being in his glory days to being mocked by the wicked.  People detest him and keep their distance.  There is a rain cloud above Job and people can see it.  They mock and they spit and they even desire to trip him up and take advantage of him.

When others look at Job they see someone who is beyond help. Job himself sees his life as ebbing away and even God binds him to his struggle.  As Job cries out to God, the Lord does not answer – Job feels like the Lord just looks at him and doesn’t respond.

Most of us have felt this way and been in this kind of ‘attack’ situation. It feels like we are completely alone.  And as the world sees that, they may reflect on you as having done something to deserve it, or they may even mock God’s ability and desire to help you.

I wonder what role our countenance has to play in those cycles of mocking and judgement and lack of faith in God. Do our responses to our circumstances lead others to have less faith in the Lord?  It seems as if we do have this power.  Right or wrong, this is a lesson from Job.

People are watching.

Job said back at the beginning that the Lord gives and the Lord takes away – blessed be the name of the Lord.  It seems like he has drifted off that beautiful refrain. The result is mocking and attack.

Likely, the vultures would be on him at the first sign of weakness regardless, yet our public faith and submission to God keeps Him in right place in our lives and projects the image of God from our lives as the Lord of justice and love for his people.

How we respond, in part, influences whether people say, “where was God when that happened to her?”  The answer should be, “at her side being her hope and strength…”

May we wear that kind of faith for all to see…

Amen.

Marc Kinna

 

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