Week 21 Thursday

The Rest of the Story

Today’s scripture selection: Job 41-42

Key verse: Job 42:2

For many years radio commentator Paul Harvey had a program which featured something he called “the rest of the story.”

He would tell a tale about some interesting situation; some historical event, then, just about when you thought you understood it’s meaning – he would add a twist – a punch line of sorts – that would add a dramatic element of surprise.

Well that happens in the biblical tale about a man named Job.  Originally blessed with much; then crushed by tragedy and loss; pushed to questioning – but never giving up his faith – in God.  And the rest of the story? In the end, God “blesses” his servant even more than before.

Some have misunderstood or minimized the meaning of this ancient tale.  Some have concluded it’s a simple story to tell us to “hang in there” and one day we’ll be happy and rich beyond description.  I don’t think this surface interpretation gives the tale its full due.  Instead, I think Job helps us plumb the deepest mysteries of life – how the innocent suffer; how life can push us to the limits with no explanation; how God is both awesome in His power and compassionate in His love.  And how in the heavenly realms, there is a debate that rages on between God and Satan, whose very name means “adversary” or “accuser.”

But, if we can weather the storm with Job, we can take comfort when the scriptures reveal “the rest of the story.”

We can breathe a sigh of relief that this servant of God who is humbled by life’s circumstances in the end stands before his maker as justified.

I know it’s a cliché – that life is a “mystery.”  It’s also true.  So when it smacks you in the face, and you can’t make sense of it, remember Job.  Remember there are some things we must ultimately leave in the hands of the God we do not always comprehend.

The good news is He is a God of love.

Prayer: Father, in light of the mystery, I humbly bow, AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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