A new blog on the Catholic blog scene, Heirs in Hope opens with a bang, a thoughtful series of posts looking at the book of Job. Here’s an excerpt from her first post, titled Everybody’s Favourite Victim:
. . . For Job, God is cruel and exacting, lying in wait for him to err, lying in wait to punish him with His terrible glance. This had not been discussed in that course on justice. In fact, no one � not my foster-father (a Southern-Baptist minister), not the priests and nuns who had catechized me, not even my old Testament professor � ever mentioned how Job feels about God. They focused on Job�s sufferings but failed to look at his actual relationship with God, a relationship in which he seeks to remain safely in one corner and to keep God safely in another. They did not see that Job�s sufferings begin long before Satan �move[s] [God] �to destroy him without cause.” To worship God in an attempt to keep him far away is to suffer horribly.
And it�s not that Job has done anything wrong. �There is none like him on the earth.� He is �a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil.� In the midst of his fear, Job has done something very right. We would reward him. God does. He takes Job from an existence of anxious watching and waiting and sets his path through true suffering.
Before Satan is allowed to touch him, Job�s sufferings are of his own devising, they are the product of his convictions about God. But true suffering, increasing suffering, and in particular, suffering through his friends� �consoling� speeches, causes a gradual change in Job who at first speaks in platitudes about God, �the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” Eventually though, he begins to speak to God: demanding that God look away, insisting he is right even though God prove him wrong, proclaiming his conviction that he has an Redeemer, an advocate, someone who will take his part and that no matter what, he himself will see God face to face. And finally, the man who intensely desired God to stop looking at him recalls the time before he lost everything: �Oh, that I were as in the months of old, as in the days when God watched over me� and demands: �let the Almighty answer me!� Suffering has stripped Job down to his intense need for God to respond, to hear God�s voice.
And God speaks saying, This is what I have done, Job, where were you? Without answering any of the demands and accusations on Job�s list, God answers everything. His presence, his voice, his attention, his self revelation � God himself is Job�s answer. . . .
Go read the whole thing, it’s good stuff. She follows up with a series of personal reflections that flow from the comments on this first post. This is a blog I’ll be keeping my eye on.
Funny thing is this is the third or fourth reference to Job I’ve come across in recent weeks. Job is one of my favorite books in the Bible and I’m thinking maybe it’s time for me to go back and re-read it.