In the Lectionary

October 17, Ordinary 29B (Job 38:1-7, 34-41)

I don’t want to hear any more from Eliphaz, Bildad, or Zophar. I want answers.

By the time we get to the 38th chapter of Job, I’ve nearly lost my patience with all the talking. There has been a whole lot of talk about, well, not much. I know that Job has gone through a lot. I recognize his pain and his anguish, and anyone who has lived any length of time on this earth knows something about suffering, but I don’t personally want to hear from his friends about what they think it all means.

They are taking shots in the dark about what is going on. They assume and assert more about God’s ways and actions than I care to read about as I’m attempting to manage my own suffering. I am especially dyspeptic to this kind of talk amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This global tragedy has given platform to many an Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, theological commentators without much training, disciplined devotion, or humility pontificating about what it all means, who is to blame, and how any particular group’s actions have led to their own suffering or the suffering of others or even this global pandemic. I’m fed up and do not want to hear any more.

So 37 chapters of this kind of conversation is more than enough for me; now I need answers. I’m ready for God to come and prove Job right by offering some rationale for all his afflictions—or to come and prove Job’s friends correct and provide a pathway for Job’s repentance. Either way, at this point readers are starved for God’s voice, for a tangible indicator of God’s presence. So when our passage begins with an acknowledgment of God’s presence and forthcoming answer from the whirlwind, relief washes over me. I am hoping for a satisfactory summation from God that will answer all the questions, questions that we desperately need answered today.