Today’s Scripture Selection: Job 42:9
“So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite did what the LORD told them and the LORD accepted Job’s prayer.”
In the ancient story of Job, one of the oldest in the Scriptures, there is an ending with a twist.
After all the trials and testing; after all the accusations made by so-called “friends”; after all of Job’s pleading and questioning – and finally humbling himself in awe of God – there is a dramatic turn of events.
The one whom they accused of being sinful and unacceptable (as evidenced by all the calamity he had suffered) proves to be the one God accepts. And those who had accused him of so many sins – had to make sacrificial atonement – so that Job could pray for them and they could be in turn accepted by God.
I think there’s a lot to unpack there – in this final chapter of the book of Job.
There’s much to think about how the difficulties in life are not always (as Job’s friends thought) somehow the result of his wrong doing.
There’s much to think about how even when we are struggling – we should not assume we are somehow “unacceptable” to God. Maybe we just need to learn; adjust; seek God’s greater purpose in what he has allowed to happen.
There’s much to think about how a holy and just God, before whom we must kneel in awe, is also a merciful and loving God, before whom we can kneel in thanksgiving.
There’s much to think about what divine discipline – and divine acceptance – is all about.
So I invite you to look at the book of Job again. Especially when you, or someone you know, are going through some very dark times.
You may just find – as Job and his friends did – that the story ends not with judgment; but blessing and mercy – wonderful, merciful, acceptance.
Prayer: Lord, may my life choices be acceptable in your sight. And if they are not; show me a better way. 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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