Do you remember a time when you thought you knew everything? When you constantly felt the need to correct or criticize everything? That you knew what was going on in the world, and if everyone could just see it your way things would be better? And then there’s a person, a conversation, an experience where you are taken down a notch, put in “your place,” and you are forced to see the world in a different way. All of us have at one time or another darkened “counsel by words without knowledge.” We’ve spoken out of turn, out of ignorance.
Being reminded of where our place is can be a humbling experience. When done well it reshapes and reframes our interactions with others and the world. God’s conversation with Job does just that. Job’s suffering and loss creates discord and chaos. He no longer understands his world; he no longer recognizes or finds comfort in it. Yet God’s conversation with Job provides a bigger picture.
How often, in an effort to make sense of the world, do we think so highly of ourselves that we forget all that God has done? When God asks, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth” and “Who laid its cornerstone when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?” Job (and we as readers) are forced to recognize our place, our limited vision, our smallness. Yes, rules that made sense seem to be broken. Yes, suffering is painful. But the story is not over. God is a God of majesty and mystery. May we remember where God was and is, what God has done and continues to do.
God of mystery and wonder, thank you for all that you have created. Grant us eyes to see your works and your goodness in all the places we go and in all the things we do. Amen.
At this point in Job’s story, God has heard questions from Job and long-winded moralizing by three of Job’s friends, who have pronounced that his misfortunes are divine judgment. Now God has heard enough and declares that God’s perspective is superior to theirs. God has been there from the beginning, as the psalmist reiterates, so no one should claim to know God’s mind or speak on God’s behalf. Even Jesus, the divine Son of God, yields to his heavenly Father. Hebrews tells us that Jesus made appeals to God as the ultimate high priest and thereby became the source of salvation for those who obey him. In the Gospel reading, Jesus specifies that his approaching act of submission and service will allow him to become a ransom for us.
• Read Job 38:1-7, 34-41. How do you continue to see the goodness of God when you find yourself in situations of intense suffering?
• Read Psalm 104:1-9, 24, 35c. Where do you catch glimpses of God? How significant is God’s natural world in your ability to see the holy?
• Read Hebrews 5:1-10. In what ways does the understanding of Jesus’ willing vulnerability while serving as high priest affect your interactions with others?
• Read Mark 10:35-45. When have you made a bold request of God? What was God’s reply?
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