Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lesson from the Book of Job

Just finished browsing sections of the Book of Job which is an epic poem on the meaning of and and explanation for suffering under a just and good God. Read some commentary on it which makes the meaning of the Book clearer. I have concluded that one needs to be an optimist in the face of all the suffering that human beings are subject to. And one of the things that can make one an eternal optimist is Faith.

But being an optimist is not as easy. I mean, how can one possibly believe in a good and just supreme being who has our welfare as his priority? How can he be so mean and helpless? Mean because he is allowing us to suffer so immensely -- wars, famine, disease, natural disasters. Helpless because he is not using his powers to punish the wicked or prevent the natural phenomena from being so destructive. But the Book of Job tells me something about the nature of the God. He is so wise, so powerful, so great that our limited understanding cannot cope with a complete understanding of Him. I mean, if He were to allow us to see more that what our limited logic and understanding can bear ...our minds would be blown. And Job's challenge to God to explain Himself, gets the retort from the Almighty..."Who are you?".

Yes, who are we? Sure we have education, sure we have rights, and sure we have a right to know what what our earthly governments and agencies are doing and sure we can demand answers from them. And these institutions must give us answers because they exist for our welfare. In fact, we have created these governments and these agencies, and we have given them power or mandate and so they are answerable to us. But God? Is he answerable to us? Did he not create us? So we give him explanations for our actions and not the other way around.

We cannot and will never be able to comprehend God's plan and the way his creation (this universe) works. Still one needs to hold fast to the believe that ultimately the good and the innocent will be rewarded in the life ever after. If we are rewarded in this life, it is an "bonus" that God has allowed us to enjoy. But beware of this "bonus" because it can make us complacent, soft, callous, inconsiderate and proud and forgetful of the One responsible for this good fortune.

The truth that suffering can be and often is evidence of God's love may be too bitter a pill to swallow for many. It is inconsistent with the human understanding of a good and caring god. For such people, faith is non-existent and their belief in God is based on human logic and evidence -- God rewards the good and punishes the wicked here on earth.

He does not.


No comments: