XX Pentecost

October 7, 2018

In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. AMEN.

Just a few months ago I went to a car dealer and got a car that made me smile.  My Mother was almost recovered from a fall that she had in May.  And I enjoyed a relationship with many people of this Parish whom I have known for nearly twenty years.

In the course of just a couple of months, my car was totaled in a car accident.  My Mother has suffered with eight broken ribs, and I have lost several of the people whom I described just a moment ago.  In short, I have often in recent days described myself as going through a “Job period” in my life.

Let me be clear – compared to many people in this world, I live like a king.  I live a life in which I do not need to worry about food to eat.  I have another car and can get myself around.  My Mother’s ribs are healing.  And yet, it has seemed as of late that much of my world has changed – and not for the better.

From our first lesson for today, from the story of Job:

“And the LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil? He still holds fast his integrity, although you moved me against him, to destroy him without cause.’  Then Satan answered the LORD, ‘Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life.  But put forth thy hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.’  And the LORD said to Satan, ‘Behold, he is in your power; only spare his life.’”

Sometimes it feels as if the Lord has handed our lives over to Satan and said – “Behold, they are in your power, only spare their lives.”  Sometimes it just feels as if we are abandoned to the wiles of this world and are all alone.  Perhaps that sounds a bit harsh.  But I suspect that I am not the only one who has felt this way.

But that is only one side of the story of Job, because the story is not simply told from the vantage point of God and Satan.  In fact the lesson ends with a conversation between Job and his wife after Satan has put soars all over Job’s body:

“Then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God, and die.’  But he said to her, ‘You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips.”

The story of Job is more about the way in which Job faces adversity with his faith than it is about Job losing everything that had been a blessing to him.

So how do we face adversity?  What is our reaction when we feel as if we have been abandoned by God?   Sometimes we have to talk with God even when we feel like God is not listening.  Heaven knows God has to do that with us all of the time!

There are times in which we must almost “go through the motions” of prayer and worship and all of the other things that feed and nurture our relationship with God because it is the right thing to do.  That is what happens in relationships sometimes.  Sometimes we have to do things we don’t feel like doing, because we love someone.

That is ultimately what the story of Job is all about.  It is about love -- The love which God has for Job and the love which Job has for God.  Love is sometimes the only thing that will get us through the Job times in our own lives.

I have said that I have described my life recently as a “Job period”.   Once when I said that in front of someone, they reminded me – “remember how Job ends”. 

When the world echoes the words of Job’s wife, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God, and die.” I pray that we will have the faith and love that Job had in God to meet our own Job times.  AMEN.