It's because I have to. My sanity literally depends on my ability to write and express my thoughts, with the hope that others may someday read and understand them, but ultimately for no other reason than because I find it helpful. If you're tuning in, then thanks for your time. I write these things on the internet because I genuinely have no idea who may read them, but I trust God that someone somewhere will find it helpful.
I've been noticeably absent from social media and internet outlets for the last few months. Part of that is because of the Navy, which as always seeks to make incessant and at times wildly unreasonable demands on my time, and part of it is because I simply haven't had any desire to comment on the incessant stream of depressing news headlines which we've all come to take for granted in these strange times.
Today I'd like to talk to you about an utterance from the book of Job which has probably starred in many a sermon about suffering. The famous phrase of Job 13:15, "though he slay me, yet will I trust in him." has often been taken as a sign on Job's great and unshakable faith in God's goodness despite his outwardly horrible circumstances. In reality, like Jeremiah 29:11 and many other seemingly rosy quotes pulled at random from the pages of scripture, this one too gets frequently abused when taken out of context.
You see, even though on the surface of things Job is making a bold declaration of his faith in God, (v.16 goes on to say, "indeed, this will turn out for my deliverance"), we have to remember that the wider context is his indignant rant at God about the injustice of his suffering. He goes on in verse 22 to demand a direct conversation with God himself (careful what you wish for, Job) so that he can plead the case for his innocence. What Job fails to comprehend throughout this entire story is that, despite all of his righteous acts throughout the course of his life, he is still not exempt from God's divine prerogative to do whatever he dang well pleases.
Some might argue that this makes our God out to be as capricious and untrustworthy as any mythical god of the Ancient Greeks. If he can choose to allow Satan to have his way with his beloved children for no other reason than to win a wager, how can we possibly trust that such a God is truly good? It's a question as old as the Bible itself. How can a good God allow bad things to happen to good people? We're all quick to offer platitudes about the perfect plan of God, but if you've ever been in Job's position, it's a little tough to blame him for being somewhat indignant at the seemingly arbitrary nature of his suffering.