Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Overhearing Job

I have too often been guilty of thinking that the book of Job really had three significant chapters (1-2, 42). Those chapters form the basic storyline of the book. I have reasoned that the middle ‘stuff’ of the book contains a few verses worth quoting, but not a consistent dose of inspirational or motivational material. “Let me get on to Psalms and Proverbs” has been more of my mindset.

And I have too often missed it.

I have missed the emotions of Job. I have missed the theology (some good, some poor) from Job’s friends. I have missed some of the self-assertions of God. Truly, I should have paid more attention to a theology course whose instructor is God Himself. In chapter three alone, I have missed some things.

I have missed the ‘whys’ of Job. Why did I not die at birth? Why was I not as a stillborn child? Why is light given to him who is in misery, but it comes not to the one who is digging for it? Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden, whom God has hedged in? Some pretty significant ‘whys.’

I have missed the depth of Job. A person who will write in poetic form about the most painful things in life is experiencing and communicating things that I need to hear. A person who will describe gloom with seven different metaphors deserves more attention than I have given him.

I have missed the raw and real emotion of Job. Job speaks of his sighing, groaning, fear, dread, lack of rest, noisiness, and being ill at ease (24-26). Job speaks of his pain, and I am too often like his friends who were supposed to be the ‘sympathizers.’ I don’t have enough time to listen to Job, or I am forming my theological opinions before I have really heard him out.

I am convinced that my ‘missing’ the heartbeat of Job may be symptomatic of the way I miss others. Am I too quick to have solutions before I have shared in someone’s pain? Am I full of my own schedule that I cannot fit room in for one more broken heart?

So Job, please keep talking. Holy Spirit, help me to be listening.