Monday, October 15, 2012

Job's lament

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Job 24:1-17

TO CHEW ON: "Since times are not hidden from the Almighty,
Why do those who know Him not see His days?" - Job 24:1

In this dark chapter Job asks questions that he probably never had when he was healthy and flourishing. His experience has made him sensitive to evil and the general suffering around him in a way he never was when his life was going smoothly.

- He asks why God tolerates the bullying of the wicked (Job 24:2).
- He names ways they oppress the poor and helpless:
  • They take advantage of widows and the needy (Job 24:3-4, 9-10).
  • They force the hard-working and deserving to live on gleanings, without clothing in harsh rain and mountains (Job 24:6-8).
  • They murder and steal and get away with it (Job 24:13-17).
In fact to Job there is no observable difference in the fates of the evil and the good person (Job 24:22-24).

This is a pretty depressing read. Are there any redeeming features at all in Job's lament? Song writer and worship leader Brian Doerksen would say there are. In an article titled "Why laments are healthy" he says:

"I know in times of tragedy and crisis, it’s especially important that we express what’s going on in our hearts. To try and deny what we are feeling is the route that many modern believers have taken; maybe without realizing it strays from the biblical pattern laid out for us in the psalms and in the life of Jesus. In fact denial is one of the main ways that the world deals with loss and grief.

"There’s another ‘d’ word that describes the way the world deals with loss – distraction! Between denial and distraction you pretty much have the world’s way of coping with loss, disappointment and grief summed up. (The entertainment and travel industries are built on coping through escaping) But we are not called to take our cues from the world. We are saved and freed to live the life that Jesus showed us to live . . . and one of the many things I love about Jesus is that he was completely free to feel"

He sums up:

 "Worship is not always about bringing God our best and brightest. Sometimes it’s about bringing God our pain and grief. Sometimes it’s coming just the way we are!

"God wants to give us more than permission to feel – he wants to step into the middle of our feelings and be present with us; even in our suffering . . . even in the middle of our emotions. So let the tears flow . . . let the laments be sung . . . " Brian Doerksen, "Permission to feel; Why laments are healthy" - Read entire  (.pdf file, ellipses are in the original and do not indicate words left out; emphasis added).

PRAYER: Dear God thank You for being big enough to hear my complaints and negative feelings. Help me to be honest rather than in denial. Please help me to invite you into my times of pain and confusion and find comfort in Your presence. Amen.

MORE: How Long O Lord - Brian Doerksen

Brian Doerksen set the words of Psalm 13 to music, reviving an ancient lament.

Bible Drive-Thru

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