Worship & Suffering (7 June 2019)

Morning Encounter:

Read:

Job’s sons and daughters were having a feast in the home of his oldest son, when someone rushed up to Job and said, “While your servants were ploughing with your oxen, and your donkeys were nearby eating grass, a gang of Sabeans attacked and stole the oxen and donkeys! Your other servants were killed, and I was the only one who escaped to tell you.”

That servant was still speaking, when a second one came running up and saying, “God sent down a fire that killed your sheep and your servants. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.”

Before that servant finished speaking, a third one raced up and said, “Three gangs of Chaldeans attacked and stole your camels! All of your other servants were killed, and I am the only one who escaped to tell you.”

That servant was still speaking, when a fourth one dashed up and said, “Your children were having a feast and drinking wine at the home of your oldest son, when suddenly a windstorm from the desert blew the house down, crushing all of your children. I am the only one who escaped to tell you.”

When Job heard this, he tore his clothes and shaved his head because of his great sorrow. He knelt on the ground, then worshiped God  and said:

“We bring nothing at birth;
we take nothing
    with us at death.
The Lord alone gives and takes.
Praise the name of the Lord!”

In spite of everything, Job did not sin or accuse God of doing wrong.

(Job 1.1-22)

Reflect:

The book of Job is one of the oldest books of the Bible and explores more deeply than any other book the mystery of God and suffering. Suffering is a problem for Job, precisely because he believes in a living and loving God. He is a blameless and upright man who loses everything dear to him – children, servants, property and his livelihood – yet he ‘knelt on the ground and worshipped.’ Here we are reminded that great grief and worship can exist together.

Respond:

Reflect on the place of worship during times of suffering. If you are in a dark time now, reflect on this passage and try to worship as best as you are able.

Midday Meditation:

‘Perhaps nothing helps us make the movement from our little selves to a larger world than remembering God in gratitude. Such a perspective puts God in view in all of life, not just in the moments we set aside for worship or spiritual disciplines. Not just in the moments when life seems easy.’

(Henri Nouwen)

Evening Reflection:

Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

(Matt Redman, Blessed Be Your Name)

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