20 Job arose, tore his clothes, shaved his head, fell to the ground, and worshipped. 21 He said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb; naked I will return there. The Lord has given; the Lord has taken; bless the Lord’s name.”
Often, when I read scripture, it smacks me right between the eyes and wakes me up to what I need to see and what I need to learn! Job’s story is so relevant for us as a community of faith, it speaks to what we’re feeling and our common experience when faced with the challenge of crisis. To follow Jesus requires faith, courage and fortitude while we are being transformed by God’s love. When I read Job’s statement, “The Lord has given; the Lord has taken; bless the Lord’s name,” it leads me to ask, “Are we praying like Job?”
Job was an honest man who had wealth and worshipped God. Job enjoyed a good life and had a large family of children he loved. And in a moment, life as Job knew it, was gone. Job’s reaction is to deeply mourn, fall to the ground, worship God and bless God’s name. Blessing God during adversity is not usually the first thing we are able to do when experiencing tragic loss. Grief is a journey that is experienced differently for each of us over time. It takes courage and fortitude to persevere through the process of grief, opening ourselves to the transforming love of God, who suffers with us, when we’re experiencing anger, sorrow and pain.
So this scripture speaks to me because, like Job, we were enjoying the “good life” inside our church buildings, and “Bam” COVID! We were thrown into grief at our losses, so much change, not able to go back, experiencing anger, sorrow and pain. Maybe we weren’t able to pray like Job at first, but now, after grieving what is gone and having faith to follow the Risen Christ, we can say, “bless the name of the Lord!” By the grace of God and through the power of the Holy Spirit, we continue to persevere in courage and faith, transformed and renewed by God, to stand together as a community of love to go into the world to serve, and bless God’s Holy name.
By Jeneene Reduker
For Pondering & Prayer
As you persevere in courage, enduring discouragement and the difficulties that you face daily, know that God is with you. That the Holy Spirit will give you courage and strength when you are too weary to continue to be Christ to others in this hurting world. Today, look for opportunities to bless and praise God, especially in the midst of the storm.
Prayer: Holy and loving God, we bless your holy name, we give you thanks that you are with us in every moment and we are grateful for the presence of your Holy Spirit, who gives us the courage to persevere as we follow the example of Jesus. Amen.