Most of us have at least a passing acquaintance with the book of Job. We know it most as a story of undeserved pain and suffering. And that is certainly the central theme of Job’s life—he is a “blameless and upright” man who through no fault of his ownis forced to endure indescribable torment. What we sometimes forget is his passionate response to his fate and how courageous it is. In his introduction to the book of Job in The Message, Eugene Peterson sums it up like this:
“Job gives voice to his sufferings so well, so accurately and honestly, that anyone who has ever suffered—which includes every last one of us—can recognize his or her personal pain in the voice of Job. Job says boldly what some of us are too timid to say. He makes poetry out of what in many of us is only a tangle of confused whimpers. He shouts out to God what a lot of us mutter behind our sleeves. He refuses to accept the role of defeated victim.”
During the month of November, we will be spending some time looking at Job’s story in our worship services. As we do, we will confront with him some central questions that we all struggle with, beginning with “Why do bad things sometimes happen to good people?” and “Why does our loving God allow this to happen?” and “Is it ever acceptable to be angry with God?” Beyond that, we will learn how to be good friends and companions with those who are suffering by looking at the negative example of Job’s friends, who show us how not to be helpful!
I hope you will join us for this series, regardless of where you are presently in your journey in life. For as Eugene Peterson says, there are inevitably times in all of our lives when Job’s story becomes our story. We all have much to learn from this man and what he experienced in his time of suffering.