Reflection by Aidan Troy [Aodhán O Troighthigh] Please note: the view of the above alone.
Friendship is a real treasure. Friends are with us in good times and especially when the going is tough. ‘Fair-weather’ friends are there in good times. At the first sign of trouble, such people can slip away. A few good friends who stand by us in all circumstances are worth their weight in gold.
What keeps friends together is trust and caring. They are the ‘glue’ that keep us bound to each other, the foundation that stops us falling apart. To trust sounds nice and easy, but not always so. Trust broken is not easily repaired or restored. If let down once by a friend, feelings of insecurity will be hard to overcome.
The story of Job is beautiful because of his trust in God. The whole Book of Job is worth reading and praying. It teaches about God but most of all about life in the world of suffering and loss. It is like a manual of spirituality, underpinned by honesty and integrity.
Job is a blameless and upright person. We all know people like this – you can put names on some. Job feared God in a good sense, in that he kept away from evil. He had 3 daughters and 7 sons. All the children got on well together and loved their parents. Job was not poor – he had 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 oxen, 500 female donkeys. He lived in a large house, loved his family and God.
Satan came along for a chat with God, we are told in the Book of Job. God asked Satan if he noticed how good and honest Job was and how he feared God.
Satan was not impressed by God’s praise of Job. ‘If all Job has is touched in any way, he will curse you’, he told God. Satan got permission to control the possessions of Job and his family. In brief, Job lost his children, his animals, his wealth. He was broken. Satan sat in wait for Job to curse God. What did Job say? This is his assessment and act of faith and trust in God:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” [Job 1:21]
Job did not charge God with the misfortunes that happened to him. He would not curse God as Satan had predicted. Job’s wife, even told her husband to, ‘curse God and die.’
Job had a great trust in the fairness and goodness of God:
“Shall we accept good from God and shall we not accept adversity?” [Job 2:9]
When I have my ‘back to the wall’ and a great loss or sadness overwhelms me, I find it easy to ask, ‘Where is God now?’ To think of Job who ended up with painful boils from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head, inspires me and leaves me stronger. Job knew in his heart that God does not cause the pain or the loss. Job will not curse God. Even when his friends come to comfort him and mourn with him, Job remains faithful to God and trusting in Him.
Our world is filled with people like Job. Women, men, children I have met who have not been reduced to bitterness by suffering leave me feeling ashamed. How easily my trust in God can be at breaking point! Towards the end of his life, he had his fortunes restored. ‘Job died, an old man, and full of days.’ [Job 42:17] What a great ending to a life lived in trust and fidelity to God.