Today’s Reading: Job 14: 1-14
Author: Henry Penner
As we read Job, Chapter 14, we are reminded of our short time here on this earth. There are joys and marvels and wonders, but we all have our share of grief and pain as well. It is simply the process of being human. The passage we see here is a typical example of early Jewish outlook of life ending at physical death. “ so man lies down and rises not again.” Some Jews retained that view into the first century and beyond, but others hoped for a better life with God. Jesus assured us that was the truth, and we celebrate the confirmation of that truth every Easter, and every Sunday.
We who follow Jesus Christ know that the story does not end on this earth—we live our lives here on earth in only the blink of an eye. Our lives are eternal with God and so to measure our time in earthly life is futile. But wait—do we not hear a note of hope from Job in this most lamentable passage? Job thinks there may be a God of love who wants to keep us close. “appoint me a set time, and remember me.” If God remembers us, are we not always with God?
Job is one of the most difficult of the Old Testament stories to read because it talks so freely of pain, suffering and despair. Yet there is truly hope and a remedy to despair, and Job knows it—tells us to be patient and receive God’s mercy. Job wishes for someone of human quality to stand between him and God, so that Job might understand God better—and so it came to pass—about 500 years later. It may be too simple to look at the Old Testament as entirely a preparation for the Gospel message of the New Testament, but there are certainly moments when we Christians are tempted to read into many of the Old Testament stories a hope and desire for the One who intercedes for us. God speaks to us in these ways to let us know that there are things of this world which only God knows, and that our response should be trust and faith.
If you look carefully at Job’s story, it is of one who trusts God completely (although with consummate curiosity), even in the worst of times. We know that our trust in God will always be rewarded, perhaps not so visibly to us in our time, but certainly in God’s time—and to that end we must place all our energy of faith.
As we look toward the rising sun of Easter morning, let us renew our belief in that hope that Job knows in his heart is right, and fill our hearts with the joy of the Resurrection.