Friday, 17 November 2017

Reflections on suffering and the book of Job

My church is going through the Book of Job and I have the feels. During DG (Discipleship Group which is essentially a small group meeting on a weekday), we talked about how even though God answered Job at the end of the book, he still didn't give an explanation for all his suffering.

We discussed it a bit, and came to the conclusion that we just have to trust God. And that perhaps even if he were to answer, it would be hard for us in our human wisdom to properly comprehend what he's saying. A friend gave an analogy, that she often gives advice to her teenage daughter, for example, how she has to be more responsible because that is a quality valued in the workplace. But her daughter just brushes it off lightly. I thought that was an excellent example that really illustrated the concept of the gap in wisdom between individuals. What more, between us a mere mortal, and the omniscient God?

Then, I had a question. At the end, Job "surrenders" to God claiming that he is no one to question God. That was after God talked about Creation and asked Job a couple of difficult-to-answer questions of his own.

I wondered if the story was telling us that encounters with God are what will change our mind because suffering really blinds us to the presence of God doesn't it? At least it does for me. I constantly question where God is in my pain. But perhaps it isn't? Perhaps the book of Job exists for us to point us back to God in times of suffering. By the fact that it is there.

Another friend mentioned that when people can't see past their pain, it is often that they are relying on their own strength to understand things instead of relying on God's comfort. I took note of that, because it could very well apply to me. And so I jotted that down in a notebook I had.

I felt that tonight's study was very personal to me as I feel like I have suffered quite a fair bit. Once as I was praying, I asked myself, "If God is a good God, why did He make me gay?"

And then I cleverly decided to text a bunch of my closest friends and they had no answers. I cried and I cried as I read their replies and pondered on why God could be so cruel. Only Alan Chambers, over Twitter, said to me that "So that his glory and power could be shown in you! You're amazing" and I was comforted.

Every time I'm at a wedding, a little something dies inside of me.

Every time pastors preach about how depraved LGBTQ+ people are from the pulpit, I die a little inside as I sit among the congregation.

Every time I see my Christian friends share certain articles on Facebook, I die a little inside.

I have a gay Christian friend who told me that if he did do it, he'd hang himself in a church toilet to make a point.

I felt that that was really sad.

But I understood.

Anyways, I thought that going through the Book of Job was really helpful to make some sense of my suffering and to just trust that God will bring me through all this. I just have to continue walking alongside him, difficult as it may be, one day at a time.

Where I belong

At my first church, I felt like I was part of a family. Until it wasn't. A guest pastor had come from New York and made a homophobic...