Let’s be honest with each other.
We live in a world that loves certitude and despises mystery.
To admit that we do not understand, or know or fully comprehend something, seems almost to be a weakness in our world.
If not a weakness, it can be seen merely as something more we have to “learn.”
But one modern theologian said it quite well: The opposite of faith is not doubt….the opposite of faith is certitude!
In the name of certitude in faith we have waged wars, annihilated races and peoples, we have persecuted and excommunicated people and banned others to lives of silence.
Today, these readings challenge our paradigms of faith, of prayer and of belief!
Job….the first reading…really is one of those stories of Sacred Scripture that cannot be read piecemeal. It is a story of a faith filled man who felt himself to be very obedient and faithful follower of God and God’s laws. Yet Satan and God get into a dispute, about the role of faith and God says…go ahead…test my servant Job. And subsequently Job is stripped of absolutely everything, family, home, wealth, and even health…Job’s friends say…you must have done something really bad to offend God like this…Job says…no I did not….but why—I do not understand—I wish I would not have been born—this is so painful—“I have dealt with great things that I do not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I cannot know.” Job 42:3
Haven’t we all been in Job’s shoes?
Haven’t we all cried out to God in our hurt and pain.
At the loss of someone we love, or some hurt of our own?
Haven’t we found ourselves like Simon and begged God to reach out and lift up one of our family or friends who are ill?
I do know that after studying Job and struggling to understand why God heals some and not others…..after living with the mystery of prayer and what it means and how it works I have come to the conclusion that as a faith filled follower of Jesus the Christ I must admit I know little to nothing about the ways of God, and that more and more I struggle to become comfortable with mystery.
When I pray now, I pray that if this or that particular thing is God’s will for this person or this situation that such would be the end result. And I pray that no matter what happens in this situation or another, that God will help me to understand the questions and maybe even a glimpse into the purpose.
As people of faith, it is a good question to ask ourselves what we fall back on when we are tested isn’t it?
I do know one thing for sure….prayer does change things….
usually it changes us!