October 29, 2010
Have you ever had a conversation that’s not really a conversation? You know the kind; when you get the sense that the other person is not so much listening to you as waiting to continue with their speech. I get the impression that this is happening in Job 5-6. Job is on a role. He’s having a good old moan and there’s nothing Eliphaz can do about it.
I don’t blame the guy. He’s having a tough time to say the least, what with the whole my-whole-family-has-died-and-I’ve lost-all -i-owned situation. And we all know that there’s nothing as Carthartic as a good old rant. Indeed, you all know I’m particularly partial to ranting… But it’s a shame, because Job is so wrapped up in his own grief that he misses something beautiful.
Eliphaz has reminded Job of who he is (as I wrote about last week). Now he reminds him of who God is. Within this he says “He does great things and unsearchable marvelous things without number.” (5:9) And what is Eliphaz’s first example of this?
“He gives rain on the earth and sends waters on the fields.”
He makes the rain.
Now, I like in Manchester, we have a slightly different perspective on the desirability of rain than our brothers and sisters closer to the equator. The rain is not something we have to wait for, nor do we need to wonder if it will come. Still, this gives even more beauty to the example. The rain always comes; we don’t usually will and we certainly don’t appreciate it, but it comes all the same.
When we question suffering, and even more when we are caught up in our own suffering, we are seeing a very human experience-centred picture. We forget the seasons that change and the rains that come. The trees that grow and the currents that flow. The millions of new lives that comes even as others go. We forget the rain, we forget the sun. We see such a narrow vision of all that creation is, or all that God gives.
So when I am caught up in the woes of the world. When my heart is broken. When I worry. When I am struggling to understand God’s plan or purpose. When I feel, as Job, that life has lost its flavour (6:6). I am going to try to remember the rain. Remember the rain.