SCRIPTURE: Job 38:1–11
The Lord Answers Job
1 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind:
2 “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
3 Gird up your loins like a man,
I will question you, and you shall declare to me.
4 “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell me, if you have understanding.
5 Who determined its measurements—surely you know!
Or who stretched the line upon it?
6 On what were its bases sunk,
or who laid its cornerstone
7 when the morning stars sang together
and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?
8 “Or who shut in the sea with doors
when it burst out from the womb?—
9 when I made the clouds its garment,
and thick darkness its swaddling band,
10 and prescribed bounds for it,
and set bars and doors,
11 and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stopped’?
Andrew Foster Connors poses that “Even the most skeptical of Christians will sometimes pray for the supernatural when desperate circumstances leave few other choices: prayers for healing when the doctors know the cancer will stay the course, or prayers for peace in places where violence has lived for a thousand years. But mystery, according to Job, is located primarily not in what is exceptional, but in what is natural, regular, and known—the morning stars, the sea, the womb, the clouds. They invite Job, and us, to ponder the breadth of the depth of this God with whom we must struggle. In the world unfurled for us in the words of poetry, we find that our questions lead not to answers but to an awareness of how deep and fathomless are the mysteries of the God we struggle to understand. The temptation of many churches, drenched in the cherished theologies of our traditions, is to give our people answers. But faith, by its very nature, is not the product of right answers. The deepest places of our knowledge of God are often those places that we cannot explain: experiences of tranquility in the presence of fear, comfort known deeply near death, the enigma of undeserved suffering visited on the life of a child—these and many other moments experienced regularly by people in the church.”
Connors’ words seem to ring so true right now as our world is search for answers and praying for that supernatural solution. We seek a cure or vaccine for COVID 19. We seek a cure for the racism that continues to oppress and take the lives of, a group of people for over two hundred years. And while I agree with Connors that “…faith, by its very nature, is not the product of right answers,” in the situations of racism, our faith can help lead us towards erasing it from our world. Jesus told his disciples to love their neighbors as themselves. Racism is the exact opposite of this command. Love is the right answer. And we need to start NOW!
These questions are not ones of judgment, but rather ones of contemplation for growth: How comfortable are you with inviting people into the mysteries of God? What deep places in your life have been revelatory in revealing God?
Always present God, just like Job, we would like some right answers. But we also know that there is so much we learn about you, O God, in the intersection of life and the experience of not knowing. Help us in our desire to know everything, and therefore our assuming to control everything, and to find peace and comfort in not knowing everything. Help us to never stop our pursuit of knowledge, both of you and of your creation, but to accept that knowledge comes with time and even in this age of instant access, there may be things that we will not know right away. Amen.