Agape: March 5, 2020

Agape: The 2020 Lenten Devotional for St. Paul's Episcopal Church

“You have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care has preserved my spirit.” –Job 10:12

Poor Job! He has led a virtuous life. In all things, he has been blameless. But now, God allows Satan to put Job to the test: will Job still praise God if his life becomes total misery? “Betcha he won’t,” Satan says. “Betcha he will,” God counters. And Satan goes to work. Job’s livestock is carried off and all his servants killed. Job is suddenly impoverished. His ten children are killed when a house collapses on them. Then in Satan’s second act, Job is covered with loathsome sores and misery. Job’s helpful friends show up to point out that Job must have been a terrible sinner because this wouldn’t have happened to a virtuous man. Standard theology of the day. Fess up, Job.

Even Job’s wife says, “Do you still persist in your integrity? Curse God, and die.”

And yet Job persists. Angry? Yes. Wanting to confront God? Yes. But ready to back out of his relationship with God? Not now. Not ever.

Things do go wrong in our lives. Terrible things happen to good people, things they don’t deserve. But isn’t that universal? I don’t know anyone who hasn’t suffered loss, pain, wounds. There have been extreme times when we were near despair. So in tough times do we still praise God? In our futures will there be light in the dark times? Will we wonder: where is the light? Where is God?

Jesus never said life would always be easy. But he did say that he, love itself, would be there with us. And he has been. Is now. And will be.

If Job can confess, “You have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care has preserved my spirit,” maybe, just maybe, you and I can do the same.

Leonard Cohen’s song Hallelujah is a prayer that catches Job’s attitude. He writes…

And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah.
Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah.

-Tom Worrell