Today’s Readings: Jobs 41:1-11; Hebrews 6:13-20; Psalm 75
There are several reasons why I struggle with reading the book of Job. One reason I struggle with the book is because I don’t share its theological assumption that God is solely transcendent (somewhere “out there”). As someone who would characterize his theology as panentheist, I believe God is both immanent (within us) as well as beyond us. Another reason I struggle with the book is because of the effect it has on people’s ability to get real with God.
Many folks read Job – especially portions of it like today’s passage from the 41st chapter – and conclude that it is not okay to question God. I don’t think that’s the case at all. In fact, I believe that some of the richest work we can do in terms of growing our faith is during those times when we lift up the question “Why?” Here’s where I think we need to make an important distinction.
The value in asking the question “Why?” lies in its ability to act as a pressure valve: to help us release our anger, our frustration, and our doubts. That’s a good thing! If we ask the question why from a place of arrogance (i.e. “I know better than you God and it should have turned out this way”) and from a place that assumes we human beings will ever comprehend the fullness of this mystery we call God (i.e. “explain it to me so I can understand”) we enter shaky ground. We try to blur the distinction between the finite (us) and the Infinite (God). That – in my humble opinion – is why Job portrays God as being cranky in today’s passage.
So what role does the word “why” play in your spiritual life? Is it a pressure release valve that helps you begin the healing process, or is it a key that you demand opens all the door? Til next time…