TAMIL NATIONAL FORUM
Selected Writings -
The Life of Job
[Transcript from the Inter-faith Reading Group -
Read at the local Gurduwara - Live recording for Faith Matters]
Book of Job explores the human suffering and the question of God,
the Divine Justice... the subject is the problem of good and evil in the
world: “Why do the just suffer and the wicked flourish?”... but it is
also a joyful book, it ends up with the full restoration of Job, a
double portion of his children and home and wealth and health...
3 May 2006
I had been reflecting on human suffering, pain of loss and
bereavement and then of course on resurrection and the conquering power of
Christ. It is then that I started reading and meditating on the life and
suffering and the ‘near death experience’ and the “resurrection” of Job. I saw
in it, a shadow of the passion, death and the resurrection of Christ. In the end
Job like Jesus becomes more than a conqueror. God transforms Job as an
intercessor. He prays for his so-called friends but in effect they were his
worst enemies. They did not understand what Job was going through! They turned
into accusers when he was going through hell.
Job however turns into a man of greater compassion – he becomes a spiritual
shepherd through this profound experience. Like Jesus the good Shepherd Job too
remains completely obedient to God’s will. Now Job’s submission was not blind,
thoughtless, unquestioning, irrational obedience. He asked deep questions; he
argued with God; he wanted to know answers to life’s questions. His faith was
not without protestations! Job was experiencing much suffering and anguish –
instead of wasting time with questions probing the existence of God, he began to
question his own existence; of course he wanted to cut short his existence – he
cursed the day he was born and he wish he was dead.
But he occasionally had flickering strokes of brilliance -- Job
wanted God to reveal
the meaning of his life. What is the purpose? Where do I fit into God’s
divine plan? As the conversation with God progressed Job grew in maturity. Job
paid a heavy price for this deepening experience. He experienced dark mental
torture. His friends proved to be flimsy, superficial, and shallow. However, in
the end Job’s life was enriched. He recovered everything he lost. Perhaps much
more than he thought he had lost.
I wish to read to you a brief portion of Job’s story from the Book of Books
written by Canon Trevor Dennis. By the way, Job is the oldest book in the Bible.
Canon Dennis takes a refreshing look at the at the ancient story – the life of
I quote: “’Take me away,’ said Job. I have seen enough. The whirlwind picked him
up for the last time and returned him to his village. Job had seen the truth. He
had heard the morning stars cry out their joy. He had smelled the breath of the
Dragon. Above all he had seen God – and heard him too!”
‘Before the whirl wind came
I was speaking nonsense,’ he said to God.
‘I spoke of things far beyond my understanding.’
‘All those accusations,
All those angry words!
I renounce them all,
I withdraw my case,
I had heard of you, my God,
By the hearing of the ear.
Now my eyes have seen YOU.
I put this dust and ashes behind me.’
“So saying, Job got up from the rubbish heap. His skin was not
itching any more. He dusted himself down and pulled himself to full height. He
had found a new humanity. He had found a new dignity also. God had done him a
great honour. God had remade him. It was time to resume his place in the
‘I am very angry with you lot,’ God said to Job’s three friends. ‘What did you
think you were doing, saying all that fearful stuff to Job? When Job was angry
with me, he spoke from the heart. He came to me as he was. He did not pretend.
You spoke from your books. You tried to bend Job to your ways of thinking, your
ways of talking and believing. You tried to break him. Well, you have not
succeeded. He has more goodness and wisdom than ever you imagined. Go and offer
sacrifices and ask Job to pray for you.’
The friends did as God told them. And Job did pray for them, despite all the
cruel things they had said. “Then he went home”. I love the end; after such deep
spiritual experience, and encounter the story concludes with a beautiful
understatement. He went home.