As you might imagine, during my time as a Catholic priest, many folks have come to talk with me while they are in the midst of suffering. Suffering from a cataclysmic life event, a prolong encounter with illness, betrayal, a life that is heading in the wrong direction, the weight of dealing with a situation or with people – and many more topics. I rarely have solutions and even if I had a suggestion, that’s not why people come to talk. There is a very human need to say things out loud in a place they are sure that someone will listen. As best I can, I try to listen. I pray with them. I suggest they begin to take a look and see where they might find God in milieu of life that swirls around them. And sometimes I will inquire if they have read the Book if Job.
While they aware of the Old Testament book and a very general story line, the narrative details are not part of a scriptural foundation that can support them in their time of suffering. Often times they respond, “You know maybe I will read it.” I generally dissuade them from that endeavor in that particular moment. They are looking for an answer to why God let people suffer – and the book doesn’t answer that question. Some might argue that it is even the wrong question. I suggest they read it during a more calm period of life.
Hopefully you are in a calm period of life and would be interested in a very fine overview of the Book of Job – brought to you by the good folks at The Bible Project.
As always, I encourage you to support the not-for-profit work of The Bible Project.
Image by Tracey Lind, Hey, God, Why All the Suffering? Reflections on the book of Job