Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Job 42 – When God’s Justice Comes

“And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends; and the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.”
— Job 42:10 (NRSV)
The long journey that is the book of Job has taken us through a tumultuous pilgrimage, from Job’s unmerited and unfathomable losses, through a series of unjust judgments at a hand of his friends, through to now, the reconciliation of fortunes—not simply to the return of what had been taken, but a twofold blessing in weight.
Job had been pushed and pressed and cajoled from pillar to post, and though he learned resilience, it wasn’t as though he learned easily. He was brought kicking and screaming through all kinds of humiliation.
So it is often for us, though we haven’t typically submitted to the depths and shape of indignity Job suffered.
The Character of Eventual Justice
The best thing about the conclusion of Job is that, despite the complexities and comprehensiveness of the indignities he had suffered until that point, he had proved faithful enough that he remained. He hadn’t given up. As Job and his friends grappled with concepts of justice and injustice, pride and humility, and wisdom and folly, they were found characteristically human.
Even though we, too, are characteristically human—that we wrestle with concepts of God’s nature and justice—we also tend to be resilient enough to continue journeying through our suffering, despite even despondent blips on the radar screen of our despair.
It is characteristically human, then, to continue on in a hellish pilgrimage, for the hope of being delivered by God through faith in a Lord of Justice. And though we cannot tell, often times, how far in the wrong we are, God does change the circumstances, as we enter different seasons, eventually.
The character of eventual justice may not work out as twofold blessing—as God blessed Job—but it does come in a multiplicity of realisation for things we hadn’t anticipated. These realisations come in the manner of compounding relief.
God’s justice is always more generous than we had anticipated.
Not only is God’s justice more generous than we had anticipated, when it comes, but it is also more scathing against the scandalous foe that has set themselves against us. This all presumes we have been faithful, for God will not deliver a pleasant justice for the unfaithful.
God’s justice comes eventually for those who remain faithful. No matter the humiliation and indignities we suffer, we are blessed, like Job, when we do not give up; when we work through our challenges the best we can while holding on.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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