Tuesday, December 9, 2014
How then will you comfort me with empty nothings?
There is nothing left of your answers but falsehood.
Job's observations and his reason combined with his theology to point out a gaping inconsistency in the "comfort" that his friends attempted to provide with their accusatory dissertations on suffering: the wicked sometimes flourish. Job has seen it. He knows they all know people who continue to prosper even as they ignore God. They die wealthy, seemingly happy, and without regard to God at all. Job's point is that the endless arguing his friends are making that Job's present pain is a result of his sin (because God always judges the wicked with temporal consequences) is totally worthless in the evidence he can point to the contrary. Basically, if the wicked prosper without divine interruption, wouldn't it also make sense that the righteous sometimes do suffer and not as a result of God's discipline?
Comfort is not found in an airtight black and white theology. I know this as I care for hurting people. I know this as I also hurt in my own life circumstances. Sometimes suffering is just a season meant to draw us to deep questions. Sometimes it is a season to simply trust God against our own pain, disillusionment, and the apparent disparity of suffering "for no reason". To attempt a simple theological answer is to create "empty nothings" as Job so poetically described it.
When distress attends the soul of the righteous, a time of testing will set the soul to potentially experience trust in God like never before. The false logic of "good = blessing / bad = judgment" is challenged and melts before the wisdom of trusting God at all times in everything. The greatness of God's love is known when He still is our heart's longing despite the hurting. And in that joy we can trust... even if people disappoint us with false empty nothings.
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