Our scheduled writer can’t be here this morning to reflect on this passage so allow me to make a few comments on Job 3.
Firstly, the obvious. Job is not having a bad hair day. He is stressed, he is depressed. The dark clouds have rolled in. He wishes he’d never been born—blackness. His friends have gathered in silence (ch2) and Job pours it all out. ‘I would be better off never to have tasted life’
Secondly, his friends are present. (thats a good thing). As Job expresses all the morbid thoughts of despair, we know from the previous chapter that his friends sit in silence with him. (Sure, they may make a mess of their theologising in the chapters that follow but right now, the are ‘present’).
Lastly, some of us want to ‘assess’ Job don’t we? Either clinically or theologically. Depending on how we are wired, we may be asking, ‘is Job safe to leave alone right now?’ or, we might be asking, ‘will he get his theology right by the end of this chapter so God doesn’t smite him?’
My reflection is this… God has Job in his care. In this dark place, he may not get his theology right or even his perspective right, but thats ok, this is not an exam—its pain. What Job needs right now is the community of God’s people to express love and kindness, and to be really present with him. Its not the friend’s task to fix his theology. God will take Job on that journey. Their task is simple to comfort and help Job lift his gaze toward the horizon a little at a time.
One, or two or three pastors cannot be a community of love and presence to a whole church. We each need to take our turn in expressing ‘community and presence’ to the people God has connected us to in the body who might be in pain.
The job story is important on so many levels. Most of all its about when God is silent, when the friends are overly noisy, and when God finally speaks. Watch this space!