I’m a friend of Job because his story helps prepare us for the next tragedy just around the corner e.g., Texas tornadoes this week. But I’m also a Friend of Job because he voices our most bitter protest against life’s unfairness.
Life can fill our life with pleasure, joy, and happiness; it can also wreak havoc, destruction, and suffering. When circumstances go against us, we have a fellow-sufferer in Job. He knows disaster: sudden loss of employees and children, of health and wealth. He voices, moreover, the complaints we feel when we face crushing difficulties not of our own making.
I know such complaints. Stories of my mother’s early life in Newfoundland, Canada, centered around the death of two of her five brothers. Brother Ralph, a member of the Salvation Army band died of tuberculosis. Why would God allow such a fine Christian to die so young? she wanted to know. We would all like to know that answer. Bill, another brother, while traveling from the nearest town to the small community where he lived, reachable only by water, fell through the softened March ice. When his dogsled returned without him, everyone tried to rescue him, but to no avail. With the loss of these two brothers, mother’s grief turned to bitterness against God.
Although we don’t always receive the answers we want, in Job God has given us a Voice of Protest. “Why do You hide Your face, and treat me like an enemy?” Job asks God (13:24 Jewish Publication Society tr.). The word for “enemy” (‘oyeb) sounds like Job’s name (‘iyyob). Job voices our complaints against God for His seeming injustice for allowing suffering.
Do you need to protest to God? For a failed marriage? for a bankrupt business? or the sudden death of someone dear? perhaps for chronic pain? Whatever it is, rather than allow your hurt to develop into bitterness, why not allow Job to voice your complaint? Why not join me as a Friend of Job?