- Job 23:1-9, 16-17
- Psalm 22:1-15
- Hebrews 4:12-16
- Mark 10:17-31
There are no stupid questions… perhaps you’ve heard that before and maybe you didn’t believe it when you heard it, because deep down you might have a question you’re too afraid to ask, for fear of being seen as stupid.
What about feelings? Are there any stupid feelings? Are there any feelings you’re afraid to share with friends, family, your faith community or God? Are there any feelings that aren’t welcome in worship, perhaps you’ve stayed away from worship before because of some of these feelings, thinking they’d not be welcome.
The story of Job shows us that there are feelings that friends might find uncomfortable, but that God is able to carry. This shouldn’t be a surprise, the Hebrew Scriptures are full of stories of God’s people arguing, and fighting with God, there’s even a form of Psalm called Lament which is specifically a song / prayer of complaint, check out this week’s Psalm as an example.
Even Jesus cried out on the cross to God asking why he had been abandoned.
Perhaps it’d help to remind ourselves that, as the readers of Job’s story, we’re aware of the bet made and know that Job is completely in the right here, he’s done nothing wrong, yet, he finds himself suffering. So while his friends find the conversation uncomfortable and try and calm him down, offering advice and platitudes, perhaps we might be able to sit with his anger more comfortably because we know he’s right.
In my experience, however it doesn’t tend to make us feel much better, because as much as we try, we still struggle with the idea that God cannot handle our real self, our real feelings, our real anger. Perhaps, Job’s complaint still makes us uncomfortable because, maybe, we have problems with naming our own feelings with God. Or, perhaps we’re more like Job’s friends than we are like Job.
The Psalms of Lament, and the story of Job are strong reminders that God is bigger than we can comprehend and is able to sit with our complaints, our pain, our feelings and our questions, even if those questions are pointed directly at God. Why am I suffering? Why does Sam have cancer? Why is my child sick? Why did Judy die? Why, why why?
God is God and, unlike many of our friends or family is able to bare the burden of our feelings are of anger and frustration, of pain, grief and anguish, taking it all completely seriously.
Perhaps this week we might find time to have an honest conversation with God about the times where we felt we had to hide what we were thinking or feeling from God, and perhaps we might, like Job be confident enough that God is listening to our prayers and sitting with us as we do.
Perhaps this week we might be challenged to try and sit with another’s grief or anger and not, like Job’s friends offer platitudes and advice, just sit with those feelings, allowing them to be honoured.
The good news is that our God is a God who listens, and will sit with us and hear our complaints, our cries for justice, our screams and our shouting even when our friends, our family and perhaps our Church might find it difficult to do so.