Wednesday, October 23

Job: permission to be honest with God

Scripture: Job 13-14, Acts 17-18

Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face.

Observation

The book of Job wrestles with the epic question of suffering, in particular, why good people suffer.  And the answer?  Inconclusive.  Anne Lamott, in her book, Help, Thanks, Wow, wrote:

“Human lives are hard, even those of health and privilege, and don’t make much sense. This is the message of the Book of Job: Any snappy explanation of suffering you come up with will be horseshit. God tells Job, who wants an explanation for all his troubles, “You wouldn’t understand.”” (p. 23-24)

But while Job doesn’t give us a neat and tidy explanation for suffering, it does give us something else: permission to be honest with God.  In this verse, Job expresses his hope in God, even in the face of unexplainable suffering.  And in the same verse, he insists on arguing his case before God.  That is exactly what he does in the entire book.  He refutes the easy, popular explanations of his suffering (“you did something wrong and you’re paying for it”—karma).  He insists on his innocence, and demands a hearing with God—and gets it. 

Application

Please…be honest with God.  Prayer is honest communication from your heart with God.  It does no good to fake it, to say what you think God wants to hear.  God knows your heart; He knows your thoughts.  What God really wants to hear is what you actually think and feel, not some manufactured religious response.  Be real!  He is not easily offended.  He won’t be put off by your honesty—even if, like Job, you are upset with Him and arguing with Him.  He can handle it!  He welcomes it.  

The Bible consistently portrays God as conversational.  He invites us into relationship and welcomes our conversation—all kinds of conversation.  Not just the happy, nice and tidy, but the upset, hurt, confused, angry and messy stuff too.  

Job gives us permission to be honest with God!

Prayer: Lord, today I want to talk with You all day long—through the good and bad.  Help me to be honest, transparent with You, and not put on religious airs.