PASTOR BRAD'S PAGE
Pentecost 21B, October 17, 2021
New Covenant, Job 38:1-7, 34-41
“He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands”
For nearly 40 chapters, we’ve been reading about Job’s misery. All of his losses, his friends laying the blame solely on his shoulders, his bitterness towards God for remaining silent as he poured out his heart and finally, as he sits in his ash heap, scraping his sores with a piece of broken pottery, finally, finally, God responds.
This is the moment Job has been waiting for, will he get his chance to plead his case? Will God explain why all of these terrible things have happened? Will Job be acquitted of any wrongdoing? No. No. And no. God doesn’t address Job’s situation or his questions about suffering. Instead, God has questions for him. Job doesn’t get answers from God, Job gets questions from God. Who do you think you are? Where were you when I laid the foundations? What do you know about the earth’s measurements? Can you produce a flood? Can you call down lightening?
God’s answer ignores Job’s claims of innocence, his demand to know, “why”, as well as the accusations of Job’s friends. Instead, God gives Job a crash course in cosmic history. God challenges Job with a series of questions, which are meant to impress upon Job that it is impossible for him to understand the intricacies of creation. This complex world remains under the watchful eye of its creator, even when chaos and disaster seem to breakout.
Job is reminded, no matter what happens in his life and in the world; he and the rest of creation are still in the care of the creator. When God finally answers Job, God doesn’t demand an apology or punish Job, God simply reminds him who the creator is and that the creator cares for him and every part of creation.
In the end, Job doesn’t get the answers to his questions about suffering, justice or why bad things happen to good people. He doesn’t get a court hearing to plead his case. He doesn’t get acquitted. Instead he gets perspective, God is God and he is not. God is so much bigger and so much more than he imagined. But, But God is also personal. God is present, has been present and will be present in the joys and in the sufferings that he has experienced, is experiencing and will experience in his lifetime.
God reassures Job that he and all of creation are still under the care of the creator. God reminds Job in the midst of his anguish, his pain and his suffering, “I got you.”
By reminding Job who determined the measurements of the universe, who laid the foundations of the earth, who sends the rains and who teaches the lion how to feed her cubs, God brings Job peace of mind because God is also saying to him, “You are my creation too and I got you. We’ll get through this together.”
As we continue to deal with the effects of the pandemic; the losses, the grief, the isolation, the exhaustion, and the frustration God says to us, “You are my creation too. I got you. We’ll get through this together.” As we continue to deal with racism, sexism, homophobia and all the other isms and phobias God says to us, “You are my creation too. I got you. We’ll get through this together.” As we continue to deal with wars between countries, political parties and religious groups God says to us, “You are my creation too. I got you. We’ll get through this together.” As we continue to deal at home and abroad with poverty and famine, inadequate shelter, addictions, oppression, injustice, and desperation, a lack of access to clean water and physical and mental health services, human beings being bought, sold, trafficked and abused God says to us, “You are my creation too. I got you. We’ll get through this together.” As we continue to deal with the effects of a changing climate and more weather extremes God says to us, “You are my creation too. I got you. We’ll get through this together.” As we continue to deal with natural and our human-made disasters God says to us, “You are my creation too. I got you. We’ll get through this together.”
The same peace of mind that our God who created the cosmos offered to Job in his pain and suffering is the same peace of mind that God offers to us in ours. “You are my creation too. I got you. We’ll get through this together.” Amen.
Rev. Bradley A. Walmer,
a 2008 graduate of Lancaster Theological Seminary, where he received his Master of Divinity degree and was awarded the 2008 Rev. Delores Berry prize for preaching. He was ordained into Christian ministry by the Lebanon Association of the Penn Central Conference of the United Church of Christ on June 1, 2008. Prior to beginning his pastorate here at New Covenant on August 1, 2015, he served as the pastor of St. Paul’s Summer Hill UCC in Auburn, Pa (located southeast of Pottsville, PA).
Pastor Brad and his wife Michelle were born and raised in Lebanon County and now reside in the area with their dog, Barkley.