I have been reading through the book of Job lately. You know the story. Job suffers the loss of his wealth, his source of income, and most of all, his family. Then he’s visited by some friends who, if you read their words carefully, speak words that would not be out of place in most pulpits this morning. They are meant as comforting words, speaking about God’s faithfulness to the good and his judgment on evildoers. But they don’t help Job at all.
Job’s response is one of growing anger. Anger with his friends, yes, but mostly anger with God. Nice words won’t cut it. Trying to explain God’s ways doesn’t help. Finally Job gets what he wants, an audience with God himself.
So, just a thought as you go to worship this morning. If you have deep wounds in your soul, if you have needs in your life that cannot be solved with a pat on the back and a quick “I’ll be praying for you, my friend,” then come sit by me. In the last few years I have gone from making right at six figures to now working for a little above minimum wage. Disconnect notices pile on my table. My meal options are often hot dogs or macaroni, but not often both at the same time. I won’t go into my family situation, only to say it has been very, very rough. Platitudes and cliches about God don’t do it for me. I no longer can accept them. I am pressing in to know Jesus my Lord as he knows himself to be. Happy-clappy songs turn my stomach. I need real, not plastic. I don’t want God explained, I want God revealed.
If you are in similar situations, it’s ok to be angry. It’s ok to say to your pastor, “Your words today were like those of Job’s friends: empty and without meaning.” It’s ok to tell someone who offers to pray for you, “Are you just saying something nice, or are you going to be on your face with me seeking God?” Job pushed past cheap religion until he reached God. It is very hard to do this today in our Christian culture, but without doing so, we will never be able to say with Job, “I had only heard about you with my ears. Now I have seen you with my eyes.”
Just a thought. Enjoy your Sunday morning, wherever you are.