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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Job 38:1–7, 34–41

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up your loins like a man, I will question you, and you shall declare to me.

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone when the morning stars sang together and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy? “Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, so that a flood of waters may cover you? Can you send forth lightnings, so that they may go and say to you, ‘Here we are’? Who has put wisdom in the inward parts, or given understanding to the mind? Who has the wisdom to number the clouds? Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens, when the dust runs into a mass and the clods cling together? “Can you hunt the prey for the lion, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions, when they crouch in their dens, or lie in wait in their covert? Who provides for the raven its prey, when its young ones cry to God, and wander about for lack of food? (NRSV)

We live in a vast and wondrous universe. We know so little about this creation we inhabit. Did you know, as of 2018, the Kepler telescope orbiting the earth has located and confirmed some 2,327 other planets, 30 of which are confirmed to be in about the size and location relative to their stars of our own Earth? In this same year, scientists have discovered 18,000 new species on our planet. These include the massive Atlantic Forest Tree found in Brazil, to the newly discovered beetle Nymphister kronaueri, so tiny that it can hitch a ride on its host, the army ant, as it moves from colony to colony across the jungles of Costa Rica. From the miniature to the majestic, the universe is full of surprises and possibilities.

Yet none of this wonder can fully replace pain and suffering when it is acutely present in our lives. Lament and grief are never far from view. Job—beset by the suffering of ill health and loved ones taken away—finally raises his hand in anger to confront God. He asks the perennial question we all ask: Why?

As Job draws legitimately inward, God responds to his inquiry by casting Job’s view outward by cataloging the mysteries of creation. This is not a broadcast of scientific discoveries. Rather God’s speech points to divine provision and stewardship for diverse aspects of the creation. The descriptions are meant to suggest the reality that God cares. To lay the foundation of the earth, for example, communicates God’s concern that the creation be dependable to sustain life. So while the source of suffering remains a mystery, this passage from Job reminds us that God’s profound care and concern for all of us is not opaque, but clear. The Creator’s love endures.

God of wonder, we cast our gaze outward and notice a world that we cannot fully understand, but one that stirs with the presence of your grace. Help us, in our moments of trial and tribulation, to let your wondrous grace seep through and enchant our lives with possibility once again. Amen.

Written by Joseph L. Morrow, Minister for Evangelism

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