Job 8: Taking the Dare – Part II
Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Satan believes that he can tempt Job into doubting God’s abiding friendship. Job’s friends make conditions worse. Today we read a speech from Bildad who believes that Job has brought ruin upon himself; but this friend is not privy to Satan’s challenge and dare as we are. Bildad operates from his own experience and from the information he has at hand; he believes that Job has sinned and that he suffers as a result. There is no calculus in his mind for innocent suffering, and so here and in his second speech (Chapter 18) he encourages Job to confess and repent of his wrongdoing. This is something Job cannot do, of course, for he has not sinned. There is nothing to confess. He suffers innocently.
Teresa of Ávila is correct. Our intimate relationship with God is a challenging and arduous journey. Rather than being a state of mind or condition, it is a process in which our hubris, fear, suspicion and independence are winnowed away until we are left with humility, obedience, trust and love. When we meditate on the entire story of Job we are given the opportunity to examine our own journey with God and the quality of our faithfulness. Do we cling to God because of favors that might be granted us? Do we count God as a friend because we hope to receive certain blessings? Is this a relationship in which we do for God only because God is the best bet, carries the greatest weight, wields the greatest force and is the generally accepted deity? Or do we claim God as our own because God claims us? Do we humble ourselves before God because we understand that we are creatures created from God’s love? Do we hand ourselves over as objects of the dare – as Job does – because ultimately we trust God more than we trust ourselves?
If a friend approaches us in our misery and encourages us to fess up about something we have done when we have, in fact, done nothing to merit our pain: what is our response? Do we enter into the dare? Do we count on ourselves and our own resources? Or do we count on God?
Adapted from a favorite written on May 5, 2010.