Job 19: Suffering and Rejoicing Well
Friday, March 31, 2017
A Favorite from March 25, 2009.
The Book of Job is the first in the wisdom portion of scripture and it is one of my favorites. I like the honesty and persistence with which this innocent man speaks. He has been wronged by Satan, yet retains faith and hope in God. He asks the questions we all ask; he makes the observations we all make: why do the wicked seem to skate through life without suffering, and why do the innocent suffer? Each of us has endured hardship as Job does at one time or another; and for this reason his words are so valuable. Job sinks into the lowest of depths with his despair; yet he soars with great hope and divine love. This is the gift of his story . . . that he both suffers and rejoices well.
How long will you vex my soul? At times the suffering is too great, too heavy.
I cry for help; there is no redress. In our own lives, and in the lives of others, there are moments that ask too much of human strength and endurance.
My brethren have withdrawn from me, and my friends are wholly estranged. At times we are utterly alone, with no sheltering place, no healing balm.
All my intimate friends hold me in horror; those whom I love have turned against me! In the human experience, there is no greater punishment than isolation.
Why do you hound me as though you were divine, and insatiably prey on me? At times we are so low that we descend into pits we did not know existed . . . and this is when we know that something new is arriving.
But as for me, I know that my Vindicator lives, and that he will at last stand forth upon the dust; whom I myself shall see: my own eyes, not another’s shall behold him. Job understands that it is impossible for us to comprehend the depth, the width, the height or the timelessness of God. Job – although not content with the mystery of his innocent suffering – accepts that from where he stands he cannot see or know the limitlessness of God or the complexity of his plan. Job reminds us that each of us suffers. Each of us stands accused at times when we are innocent. Since this is so . . . the rest of his story is also true . . . we will be vindicated.
From today’s MAGNIFICAT Meditation about the Blessed Mother and her willingness to suffer as an innocent for the good of God’s economy: She neither regretted the past nor wished for the future – she accepted wholeheartedly the magnificent present. She had found one beautiful pearl, and all she had she gave in order to buy it. (Mother Marie des Douleurs)
So let us follow the example of Job and the example of Mary. They understood that they, by entering into the mystery of suffering, were sharing in a sacred gift offered by the God who loves us so much . . . that he offers us his own divinity.
Let us enter into today without looking back in anger or looking forward in despair.
Let us gather all that we have and all that we are to make this one purchase, the gift of transformative union where, through suffering, we enter into the world of God’s joy.
Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 25.3 (2009). Print. A wonderful resource to suffer well is Marlena Graves’ book, A Beautiful Disaster: Finding Hope in the Midst of Brokenness. For more information, click on the book image.
Or visit the site A Field Guide for Suffering by clicking on the images above.