I used to think the story of Job was about God saying He could destroy who He wanted to destroy and we shouldn’t question that because He is God and we are not. But now I am wondering if there might be another angle.

I am starting to wonder if Job is another picture of The Prodigal’s brother. God recognizes Job’s rightness. But maybe Job depends on his own rightness more than the love of God?

The clue to me is when Job says he prays for his children just in case they haven’t confessed all before God. Is the problem that Job thinks it is his prayers or their confessing that saves them? That would go against all religion then and now. But could that be the point?

That God allows the bad stuff to happen to destroy Job’s wrong thinking? Not to hurt Job, but to bring him to true healing? To true rest? Not in his own works but in the deep love of God for him that transcends any of his behaviors? Like the surgeon inflicting pain on the patient for a greater good.

How many of us have been or are in similar situations? Crying out to God that we have done everything we know to do and things only seem to be getting worse.

I need to reread the story of Job, but my memory leads me to wonder whether God interrupted Job’s musings not to condemn him, but to show Job that whereas his sanitized response to tragedy in the beginning may have been the tip of an iceberg that needed healing and revealing, the second round of tragedy brought Job through depression, questioning, and then a furious audicity to demand to put God on trial. In a sense. No longer is this the sanitized Job dotting every i and crossing every t to appease the Almighty Creator. This is the heartbroken cry of a confused deeply-grieving man.

I see myself in this place. Determined to prove my worth and failing over and over and over again despite more and more fervor allocated to the cause. “I’ll prove I’m worthy, Jesus.” And He tells me, “You’re totally missing the point.”

I’m led to this place of utter destruction and profound disappointment. Not only in myself. But in Him. I cry out, “I HATE THIS!” Only then do I hear answers after what seems like eons of silence.

I hear Him tell me what I think He told Job: “I love you. Not because of what you do, but because of who I AM. You are and always were safe. Be still. Know that I AM God and you are greatly loved. Spread that message. Not the bondage of the false message of performance.”

Sometimes failure, tragedy, and pain can be seen as somewhat of a blessing in the sense of driving me to end the idolatry of self-sufficiency.

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