Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
Special thanks to Peggy Graff and her guests for providing this uplifting and inspiring addition to us in her Hymn-a-Day May series. I pray that these paired daily selections will uplift your spirits and feed your soul as much as it does mine.
Job 42:10-13 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Job’s Fortunes Are Restored Twofold
10 And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends; and the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. 11 Then there came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and they ate bread with him in his house; they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him; and each of them gave him a piece of money[a] and a gold ring. 12 The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; and he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand donkeys. 13 He also had seven sons and three daughters.
The book of Job in the Hebrew scriptures is an ancient poem that is bookended by what many scholars believe is later prose that sets up the story told in the poem and resolves it at the end. At the heart of the book of Job is the terrible suffering of a man who is completely blameless. His so-called “friends” harangue him relentlessly, saying that he must have done something to deserve his suffering while the reader knows he is a good person. It is a kind of satire pointing out how ridiculous it is to believe that good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people.
The prose sections at the end of the book is the attempt to resolve everything that has happened to him by “restoring” what he has lost twofold. But, is that really “fixing” it? Job lost everything, including his family and it is hard to see how getting double could make up for the losses he had suffered.
So, what are we to make of this? Perhaps the message for us is twofold: First, bad things happen to good people sometimes. Job’s friends and anyone else who thinks that we always get what we deserve are just wrong. Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount in the gospel of Matthew that God “makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45)
Second, tragedy can strike anyone at any time, but it doesn’t have to mean that life ends and there is no future. Job’s life goes on, even though the losses he has experienced remain.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster