Thursday, February 28, 2013

Zophar Has Had It With Job

In chapter 11 Zophar speaks:

"What a flood of words...
Job, do you think you can carry on like this
and we will say nothing...?"

"I wish God would give you a piece of his mind,
Tell you what's what!
I wish He'd show you how wisdom looks from
the inside, for true wisdom is mostly 'inside'"

"But you can be sure of this.
You haven't gotten half of what you deserve!"

Zophar is so harsh!

I wonder if God included all of these conversations
because some part of this book applies to everyone
at some time in their lives. These friends appear
to be waiting for Job to finish so they can latch
onto something they disagree with. "With friends
like these, who needs enemies!"

See the new story: “Grieving.”

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

What If?

What if Job had sent his friends away and remained silent.
What if he had concentrated on God's power and glory?
What if he had contemplated his conception and birth
           under a star studded night sky?

But no, his emotions rose, the fire burned, and he said:

"...You never told me about this part.
I should have known there was more to it...

So, why did you have me born?
I wish I had never lived--a stillborn,
buried without having breathed.
Isn't it time to call it quits on my life?"

Does this sound at all familiar?

See the new story: “Grieving.”  

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Chapter 10. Job says to God:

“You made me like a handcrafted piece of pottery--
 And now are You going to smash me to pieces?
Don’t You remember how beautifully you worked my clay?
Will You reduce me to a mud pie?

Oh, that marvel of conception You stirred together
     Semen and ovum--
What a miracle of skin and bone, muscle and brain.
You gave me life itself, and incredible love.
You watched  and guarded every breath I took.”

As I read these verses I think about how God sculpted me:

Life given
Love filled--
A miracle!

He watched over the whole process. I am and you are,
“Fearfully and wonderfully constructed” 

Papa God I worship You! I thank You--You’re breathtaking! 
I am marvelously made--
What a creation!”

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Lake Draped in Winter

On Saturday Glen and I walked around the lake in the early morning. 
Last winter for some reason, the lake was lifeless, but this year it is 
full of birds coming and going. 
Can you guess what the irritant is in the last line?

Mist falling, 
Drops of water sliding off branches become big splashes.
The lake reflects shaded, muted light.
A flash of red reveals a Cardinal, who sings his spring song.
Three drakes decorated in vivid colors are followed by the hens.

Ten Mergansers are diving, the males showing off their hoods of 
white on black, each sitting on brown inner tubes made of feathers.

Two white gulls are fishing.
A Kingfisher sits on a branch overlooking the lake, waiting, watching--
Our Beautiful Blue Heron suddenly lifts off and floats across the water.
Amidst the beauty are four fowl fiends with imperial necks and sharp beaks.

So you see, dear reader, I digressed from Job to ponder the wonder 
of the world that God created and sustains.  
But, it fits perfectly as you will see...

See the new story: “Grieving.”  

Saturday, February 23, 2013


In the next few verses, Job wrestles with the 
meaning of life; its brevity, suffering, guilt, 
inequality, and the need for an arbitrator--
someone who would represent him before God. 
He has hit a wall. He is stuck. I know that many 
of you are also feeling “stuck.” Personally, I have 
come back to the book of Job many times and 
found what I needed. The book is not just about 
suffering, hopelessness, and death, but also 
a story of life and hope. 

“My time is short..
My life is going fast, like a ship under full sail
Like an eagle plummeting to its prey
Even if I say, ‘I’ll put this behind me…’
All these troubles would still be like grit in my 
gut since it’s clear you’re not going to let up.
The verdict has all ready been handed down, 

God and I are not equals; I can’t bring a case 
against him. We’ll never enter a courtroom as peers.
How I wish we had an arbitrator to step in and 
let me get on with life..
To break God’s grip on me…
Then I’d speak up and state my case boldly.
As things stand, there is no way I can do it.”
(Job 9:25-35 The Message)

So, dear reader, stay with me as I explore the depths of 
Job's pain and how God responds.

See the new story: “Grieving.”  

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I Can't Argue with God

“How can I ever argue with him…
Even though I am innocent I could never prove it…
If I called on God and He answered me, 
then and only then, would I believe he’d heard me.

As it is he knocks me about from pillar to post, 
beating me up, black and blue for no reason…
He piles bitterness upon bitterness…
If it a question of justice, who’ll serve him a subpoena?”
(Job 9:14-20, The Message)

"...if he’s not responsible, who is?" (Job 9:24)

Dear Reader, Do Job’s words strike and cord with you?
There have been years when I found myself wrestling with
God over situations that did not vanish like a mist in the sun.
"God, if you're not responsible, who is????

See the new story: “Grieving.”

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Question

Glen asked me if I was re-wording scripture to make it 
more interesting. I said that I was using The Message, 
a paraphrase by Eugene Peterson. This version has 
helped me to identify with Job on the emotional level. 
In chapter 9, Job asks a question. Maybe it is a question 
that you, dear reader, have asked. Let’s listen in:

“The question is, “How can mere mortals get right 
with God?”

"If we wanted to bring our case before Him, 
what chance would we have?
Not one in a thousand!
God’s wisdom is so deep, God’s power so immense, 
who could take him on and come out in one piece?”

“He flips mountains on their heads…”
“He stretches out the heavens”
“He strides on the waves of the sea”

“Who will say to him, ‘What are you doing?’”

I am amazed at the poetry, the pathos expressed by 
Job. His words speak to my imagination and they 
touch my heart. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Why Job? Why Now?

Yesterday morning I was sitting in Connect Group, listening. 
Difficult situations were mentioned for prayer. Two tragic 
stories were shared--permanent, life altering, heartbreaking. 
Last year America was plagued by destructive drought, fires, 
tornadoes and Hurricane Sandy. In December a super storm 
with 162 MPR winds hit the Philippines. Christians are perused 
and persecuted in many countries around the world. Syria is in 
meltdown. All of these events, named and unnamed, are life 
altering to those individuals affected by them. Each person has 
a name, a history, friends, enemies, jobs, families. I can find “Job” 
everyday just by reading the news.

Questions asked in Job:

Why was I born?
What is my purpose here?
Is God good?
Is God fair?
Is God in control?
Why do the innocent suffer?
Is God trustworthy?
Does God care about ME?
Is He aware of my suffering?
Do I have to be perfect to get His help?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Stuff and Nonsense

Bildad speaks in Job 8

“How can you keep talking like this?
You’re talking nonsense, and noisy nonsense at that.
Does God mess up?
Does God Almighty ever get things backward?
It’s plain that your children sinned against Him--
Otherwise, why would God have punished them?”

“Here’s what you must do…”  (Reader, fill in the blank)

“There’s no way that God will reject a good person, 
and there’s no way he’ll help a bad one.”

Bildad listened to Job and immediately decided his 
words were nonsense. Why? 
Because he did not know his friend? 
Because he didn’t know the heart of God? 

“Your kids died because of their sin,”  
(implying that Job had done a lousy job training his children.)
Stuff and Nonsense!
The worst thing to have in a long term crisis, are friends 
who have only a superficial sense of your difficulty and who 
think they know everything there is to know about how God works. 
“From such, Lord, deliver me!”

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Job SPEAKS to God

“I’m not keeping one bit quiet,
I’m laying it all out on the table;
My complaining to high heaven is bitter, but honest..

I hate this life!
Who needs more of this?
Just let me alone!
There’s nothing to my life--
It’s nothing but smoke.

Let up on me…
Don’t you have better things to do?
Why make a federal case out of me?
The way things are going, I’ll soon be dead!”

I have never experienced anything like the pain that Job bore. 
I don’t think I have ever been this honest with God either. 
Maybe they go together?

I recently read, Heaven is for Real, by Burpo, and in this book 
the Dad shares how he went into the chapel, not to cry out to 
God for help, but to “let God have it.” During this time his 
three year old son reported that he “saw” his dad in the 
chapel-- praying. I think this pastor/dad is still amazed that his 
anger was taken as prayer by his loving heavenly God,--and answered. 

His dying son recovered. As the book progresses it is obvious 
that Colton spent considerable time in heaven and did many things. 

His dad asked him, "Colton, you did many things. 
Just how long were you there?"  

Colton answered, "Two minutes." 

It is a good read

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

An Unfinished Life

Job 7 in The Message

“I’m given a life that meanders and goes nowhere--
months of aimlessness; nights of misery.
I’m covered with maggots and scabs. 
My skin gets scaly and hard, then oozes with puss….

My days come and go swifter than the click of knitting needles,
And then the yarn runs out--an unfinished life.”

Job’s life was meaningless
He felt meaningless.
An unfinished life...what could be sadder?

Monday, February 11, 2013

God Has Dumped on Me

Chapter 6--the Message

“The arrows of God almighty are in me, poisoned arrows--
I’m poisoned all through!
God has dumped the whole works on me...
Do you see what God has dished out for me?
It’s enough to turn anyone’s stomach.
Everything in me is repulsed by it--
It makes me sick.

When desperate people give up on God Almighty, 
their friends, at least should stick with them.
But my brothers are fickle as a gulch in the desert--
one day they’re gushing with water…then dry as a bone...
You pretend to tell me what's wrong with my life,
but treat my words of anguish as so much hot air.

Job is mad clear through.
He is mad at God and mad at his friends. 
The Message gives us straight up mad in modern English.
Is God listening? You bet He is!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Eliphaz Chimes In

"...Think! Has a truly innocent person ever ended up
on the scrap heap?" (Job 4:7 The Message)

Eliphaz blows a lot of wind, but this sentence seems
particularly cruel to me. He gets down and dirty with
his very first speech. No support, no empathy for his
friend. It seems that Satan continues to come at Job
through the relationships around him.

What about the comment above? Is Eliphaz implying
that a man's righteousness is a way to keep suffering
out his life? Does Eliphaz speak the truth?

This friend of Job's is just winding up, when all Job
wanted was some winding down.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Job Breaks the Silence

“Why was I ever born?
Obliterate the day!
Erase it from the books!

Why does God bother giving light to the miserable, 
why bother keeping bitter people alive, those who 
want in the worst way to die, and can’t, who can’t 
imagine anything better than death…?
What’s the point of life when it doesn’t make sense, 
when God blocks all roads to meaning?

My repose is shattered, my peace destroyed.
No rest for me ever--death has invaded my life.”
(Excerpted from Job 3, The Message.)

Job’s life is overwhelming and Job let’s God have it! 
He is just getting started. 
Does it make you feel uneasy to read his rant? 
Does this ring a bell with you? 
His words tug at my heart.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Job's Friends Arrive

Listen to Job 2:11-13 out of The Message:

“Three of Job’s friends heard of all the trouble that had fallen on him. 
Each traveled from his own country--Eliphaz from Teman, Bildad 
from Shuhah, Zophar from Namath--and went together to Job to keep 
him company and comfort him. When they first caught sight of him, 
they could not believe what they saw--they hardly recognized him! 
They cried out in lament, ripped their robes, and dumped dirt on their 
heads as a sign of grief. Then they sat with him on the ground. Seven 
days and seven nights they sat there without saying a word. They could 
see how rotten he felt, how deeply he was suffering.”

What about those who lived nearby, like the elders of the city, close friends, 
family? Where WERE they? Did they all abandon Job? The friends of his who 
traveled from a distance said nothing until after Job revealed the anguish of his heart. 
But what were they thinking during the fourteen days of silence?  Soon their 
world view would emerge as they try to explain to Job “why "good" people suffer.”

Monday, February 4, 2013

Absolute Surrender

(Last week I had trouble getting things posted. For several days 
the blog came out looking fuzzy with small print--then large. 
Hmm, wonder why...)

Job’s life is crashing around his ears, but how does he answer 
his wife’s advice to curse God and die?

“‘We take the good days from God--why not the bad also?’ 


Amazing, simply amazing! Job lived before Abraham when there 
were no Jews, nor Christians; no Bibles, support groups, or worship songs. 
What had touched Job’s heart so deeply? God Himself.

Our dog knows how to surrender. He flips over on his back and waves 
his paws. But his mistress cannot seem to stay surrendered. I find it 
much easier when everything is to my liking, but when the bad times 
come--I crab. However, I still know that God is good--all the time, and 
though I sometimes let Him have it, I give into His ways in the end. 
As we progress through the Book of Job, we will get a better handle 
on how a righteous man grieves.