Today’s session was another really interesting topic, and helped me build on my prior knowledge. We looked at the Book of Job, and how it can be used as an explanation for suffering. What I like about this book is that it is just as applicable in today’s society as it was in the time of Job. It helps answer the age-old question: why do bad things happen to good people?
The book begins by basically setting the scene. I explains that Job is the most righteous person on earth in his day, and that God looks on him favorably, saying that there is no one like him on earth. At this, Satan argues with God, saying that Job is only righteous because God protects him and his family and makes him successful in anything he does.
The rest of the book details how God agrees to let Satan do anything he wants to what belongs to Job (without harming him) in order to test his faith. Job never once curses God or loses faith, however, he does curse the day of his birth. His friends give him bad advice, so God humbles Job, asking questions that only He would know the answers to, in order to show that believers don’t always know or understand what God is doing. Job sates that he has “declared that which I did not understand” (42:3), and God blesses him with double what he originally had.
Looking at how the questions raised in this book are still very much relevant today was eye opening, as it can be hard sometimes to find similarities between the OT and modern day. It can still be argued, as it is in Job, that suffering is simply a part of God’s test for us to see if we remain faithful to Him or if we decide to stray from His path. A fascinating question raised in the session was, do we serve God for who He is or for what we can get out of it? This point links to both the story of Job (who remains faithful despite getting nothing in return) and to the idea in the last blog regarding the metaphor of God as a vending machine.
I also think that this story would be a fantastic resource to use if I were teaching a class about the problem of suffering in the world today as it is a very accessible story, with a nice clear message.