Wednesday, July 20 (July 19 – July 23 Daily Devotions written by Daniel D. Maurer)
Job 17, Job’s Prayer
I don’t know about you, but after reading Job, I’m simultaneously feeling: 1) a bit ticked off at Job how he seems to go on and on, and; 2) depressed, wondering how it’s all going to end. (Yes. I do know the ending. Spoiler alert.)
It’s easy for me to distance myself from Job’s perceived incessant whining because: 1) Job lived so long ago, and; 2) I tend to be selfish.
The word of grace for me begins as a word of law. First, I’m confronted with my lack of empathy, not only for Job, but also for others who are hurting. In a world of instant communication on social media, it’s easy to get wrapped up in other people’s drama . . . but let’s face it—it’s just as easy to shut it off and forget everyone else. “I’d rather be watching Star Trek reruns, anyway,” I say to myself.
Scripture gives us stories within stories to beef up our empathy muscles. Job’s story calls us all the more to listen to others’ pain.
Five years ago, I was going through treatment for addiction at Hazelden in Center City, Minnesota. One of the Spiritual Care counselors I met with one morning told me something I’ve never forgotten. We had been talking about how I didn’t like to read the newspapers, because so much sorrow and bad news seemed to be on every page.
She replied, “That’s true. So much of the news seems to be bad nowadays. Do you know what I do?” she asked.
I shook my head.
“I pray. Every morning I pray that God’s presence might be there, somehow, with every bad headline I read.”
Today's Daily Reading: Job 17
My spirit is broken, my days are extinct, the grave is ready for me. Surely there are mockers around me, and my eye dwells on their provocation. “Lay down a pledge for me with yourself; who is there that will give surety for me? Since you have closed their minds to understanding, therefore you will not let them triumph. Those who denounce friends for reward— the eyes of their children will fail. “He has made me a byword of the peoples, and I am one before whom people spit. My eye has grown dim from grief, and all my members are like a shadow. The upright are appalled at this, and the innocent stir themselves up against the godless. Yet the righteous hold to their way, and they that have clean hands grow stronger and stronger.
But you, come back now, all of you, and I shall not find a sensible person among you. My days are past, my plans are broken off, the desires of my heart. They make night into day; ‘The light,’ they say, ‘is near to the darkness.’ If I look for Sheol as my house, if I spread my couch in darkness, if I say to the Pit, ‘You are my father,’ and to the worm, ‘My mother,’ or ‘My sister,’ where then is my hope? Who will see my hope? Will it go down to the bars of Sheol? Shall we descend together into the dust?”