In this summer series, we wanted to bless you with a reflection from one of our beloved adjunct faculty members, Dr. Kimberly Grassi, from our San Jose location. Read along as she shares of the faithful persistence of Job who exemplified an honest pursuit in his dynamic relationship with the Lord. 

Abraham was recognized for his faith.  Moses saw God facetoface. David was a man after God’s own heart.  We talk about the patience of Job, but this is inaccurate. Job persistently pursued God with a brutally honest baring of his soul. Job endures heart-wrenching loss in his life but engages with God amid his unimaginable pain.   

Job was anything but patient as he begged God to respond to his agonizing pleas.  We glimpse the dark shroud of mourning that covers Job as he cries out in anger, mourns the loss of his family, his reputation, and his standing, and laments his own birth.  Yet Job is not all complaint. He also exhibits moments of deep trust and faith, extolling the wisdom of God. In all his wrestling with God, he is pleading for relationship, pleading for God’s presence in his life. Job cries out in pain, asking, “Why?”  Eventually, the “why” is quieted, and transformative healing takes its place. 

Job is transformed through his refusal to let go of God, through his desperate clinging to his creator.  In the midst of his pain and suffering, while still sitting in his ashes, Job experiences a transformation that leads to peace.  It is enigmatic, and yet it is a process that is consistently experienced in relationship with God.  God desires for us to draw close to him in the painful experiences of our life.  He does not promise that our circumstances will change, but he does promise to meet us in our present circumstances.  In this divine meeting comes transformation, renewed thinking, revived trust, and faith.  All of this transpires in the midst of Job’s pain.  As he sits upon ashes of mourning, with nothing changed in his circumstances, Job is changed.  The book of Job concludes with restoration, but that is just icing on the cake. Job should be remembered as a person who models a persistent pursuit of an honest relationship with God.  We find encouragement in our own lives through his example.  God may not change our circumstances.  He may not lift us out of our own personal ashes, but God will honor our honest cries for relationship with his transformative presence. 

There is a moment in time when that transformation occurs, but we are not able to manufacture it, foresee it, or force it.  It is ushered in through our willingness to remain before God in the depth of the pain.  This is the mystery.  This is the beauty.  There is healing that comes and it is inexplicable.  There is restoration that leaves the injured party unexplainably richer than before.   When we go through tremendous pain, there is a possibility of great blessing as the pain is sorted through with God.  The book of Job is written to the one who is suffering in an attempt to guide that person through the valley of a death shadow.  In the midst of the darkness is the presence of God. 

Dr. Kimberly Grassi serves as an adjunct faculty member with Western Seminary’s San Jose Campus.

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