Today’s Readings: Job 22-24
DOES GOD CARE
As Eliphaz continues to consider Job’s suffering, he says two things. First, he tells Job that, since God is exalted, He doesn’t care about Job’s righteousness: “What pleasure would it give the Almighty if you were righteous?” . Second, he insists that Job repent: “Is it not your wickedness great?” . He furthers his argument by fabricating  evidence against Job: “[Y]ou stripped people of their clothing … You gave no water to the weary … you withheld food from the hungry … you sent widows away empty-handed and broke the strength of the fatherless” . He concludes with the prosperity gospel: “Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come” .
IS GOD NEAR
Unlike his friends, who argue from their own fearful insecurity as they refuse to change their faulty theology, Job knows that God is holy and that his Redeemer lives . Yet, he has a problem – he cannot find Him: “If only I knew where to find him; if only I could go to his dwelling!” . Although he longs for a face-to-face confrontation with his living God, he cannot seem to get in touch with Him – no matter how much he tries: “I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread … God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me” .
IN JESUS CHRIST
Some say that getting through to God is easy in suffering. Yet, this is not everyone’s experience. Jesus, for example, did not easily reach His Father when He was on the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the cries of my anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest” . Yet, the Father heard the Son’s deepest cries to reconcile His people: “For … he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help … Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord” .
Lord, Since Jesus experienced ultimate separation from you when he was on the cross, You are never far from us. Yet, since we cannot see You, sometimes it feels as though You are far away. Hear the prayers of those who mourn today. Close the gap between their grasping hands and Your full heart. Amen.