Job’s agonizing story is not our own, and yet there are parts of his questioning, lamenting posture before God that offers a sense of human solidarity and the disrupting hope of a restorative God in the fragile midst of that humanity. After all of the suffering and death early in the book, at the end of the book, Job has seven more sons and three more daughters. Old Testament Prof. Ellen Davis makes the important note that this is not a “replacement” of the children Job lost, as if that were even a possibility. Rather, she suggests that the “clearest expression of the renewal of Job’s mind” is “his willingness to have more children.”Job knows all too well the realities of loss and human fragility. And yet, he pours himself again into the lives of fragile, mortal children. Davis powerfully concludes: “this book is not about justifying God’s actions; it is about Job’s transformation. It is useless to ask how much (or how little) it cost God to give more children. The real question is how much it costs Job to become a father again. How can he open himself again to the terrible vulnerability of loving those whom he cannot protect against suffering and untimely death?”
I have an honest to goodness deep-seated fear of love.
Oh, I’m good at the superficial forms of loving behavior such as compassion, mercy, sympathy, empathy. But real, true, deep love?
If you’ve been following my life story at all, I’m sure you can see where my fear of love was born.
This morning, I read the above quote in an email I received. After I became a Christian, the book of Job was the first book in the Bible that I was led to read. I really love the book of Job. God spoke to me so much through this one book. He revealed a lot of my inner stuff to me through this book.
What I find striking about the above quote, is the perspective of Job’s love and faith in God giving him the strength, the courage to start over, have more children, love those children, and pour into those children.
Sometimes I wonder if God is doing the same for me? Is he allowing me the strength, the courage to examine my past so that I’ll be able to get past this terrible fear of love? Bringing me full circle that I might be able to have an intimate, loving relationship again?
Because at some point in my life, I stopped believing in human love, the way a child stops believing in fairy tales.
And so in this one important thing, I pray, help my unbelief.