Eugene Peterson, The Message: Conversations, “Commentary on Job”
???[Job] does not instruct us in how to live so that we can avoid suffering. Suffering is a mystery, and Job comes to respect the mystery.
I was struck by this particular understanding from Peterson this morning. As I have been a part of deaths and suffering moments with families and even my own, the one mistake that is always made ??? but seems to be the instinctual reaction of us all ??? is the attempt to explain the suffering. We see this in Job’s friends as they visit him. Each of them has their own understanding of the events that are taking place.
We do this, too, don’t we? We look for an explanation because we believe it will vindicate our circumstances. We look for clarity and justification. But God isn’t asking us to find certainty or restitution. These things bring selfish answers and false peace. Maybe we have a skewed definition and understanding of what peace really is. We think peace is calm and controlled circumstances. But peace is God.
In the midst of pain and suffering, it is only when we give ourselves over to God that we find true peace. True Peace is God’s Presence. God’s desire is to give us Himself. In Jesus Christ, we are not given attributes or feelings, rathergiven are given God Himself, His presence with us.
On the sea, as the disciples cower over the storm, Jesus slept on the boat. His presence is supposed to be enough. But in the midst of the wind and the waves, Jesus shows them His power so that they know He is in control.
Job is able ??? through his understanding of peace ??? to acknowledge that God is in control. He respects the mystery of suffering. When he does this, he is no longer distracted by the suffering, but rather able to stay true to God. Sure, Job came close to breaking, questioning much of life and circumstance, but through God’s presence and Job’s relationship with God, he is able to stand firm.
May God grant us focus in our lives as we respect the mystery of suffering. Have a great weekend and be in prayer for Hall County Relay for Life.
Written with Essay on iPad