Often, we need convincing

An atheist scientist came to God and said, “We’ve figured out how to make a man without you.”

God said, “OK. Let me see you do it.”

So the atheist bent down to the ground and scooped up a handful of dirt. But God stopped him and said, “Oh, no, you don’t. Get your own dirt!”

God is awesome. God can do anything. But sometimes we have to be convinced.

We meet one such man when we read the Book of Job. We have all heard of the patience of Job. Stranger things have happened, but God invites Satan to a meeting.

Did God give a free pass to Satan or did they meet in a neutral location, like the basement of the netherworld? Whatever, they met.

God rubs salt in Satan’s eye when he asks, “Have you noticed how super-faithful, patient, God-fearing and trusting Job is?”

The diabolical dead end, the S-man said, “Sure, Job has never suffered because he knows you’ve got his six!” (It basically means “I’ve got your back.” It comes from the old pilot system in which directions correspond to hours on the clock, where 12 o’clock is forward and 6 o’clock is behind. Thus, anyone behind you is “at your six.”) God relents and gives Satan a free reign over Job, clarifying, “Just don’t take his life.”

Next we hear of Job’s troubles. It begins with painful boils all over his body, continues with the destruction of all of his property and finishes with the tragic loss of his family. In the midst of all of this are friends who come by to view his impending demise. They don’t say anything, just cry over him and lament that he has obviously sinned greatly, and now he is being punished.

Job knows he is innocent but bravely says, “Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I go back there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!” And then, his faithful wife comes over to him and says, “Are you still holding to your innocence? Curse God and die!”

It is in Chapter 3 of Job that the poor, wretched, suffering man finally loses it and wants to die. After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed his day. Job spoke out and said: “Perish the day on which I was born, the night when they said, ‘The child is a boy!’”

A series of friends, aquaintances and experts lurk by the J-sad-sack and add to his gloom by pronouncing, “What man is like Job? He drinks in blasphemies like water, keeps company with evildoers and goes along with the wicked?”

Finally Job says, “There is no profit in pleasing God.”

Strangers say, “Yet Job to no purpose opens his mouth, multiplying words without knowledge.”

Finally in Chapter 38, God addresses Job. God asks Job 77 questions that are probably addressed to us, too. They can be broken down into three basic ones.

Question one: Do you comprehend my creation? (Job 38:1-38) God begins by laying out for Job the intricacies of his creation. And there is a purposeful sarcasm because the wisdom involved in the creation of the world, man simply does not possess. But God asks Job, “Do you understand it all? Were you there? You seem to think and speak like you do!”

Question two: Can you care for my creation? (Job 38:39-39:30) God brings up six animals and five birds and lays out for Job how they operate in life and are cared for.

Question three: Could you do this? You question my wisdom in dealing with you, but do you have the wisdom to deal with all of this? Can you control my creation?” (Job 40:6-41:34) God then selects two animals at the top of the creation chain; the Behemoth and the Leviathan (commonly equated with a hippopotamus and a crocodile).

God’s point is, “I have the power and wisdom to control these two magnificent animals. Do you Job? Do they listen to you? Are you able to control them?”

In between those basic questions, God restores Job, his health, his property and possessions and, most importantly, a new family.

There you have it. Chapter 38 of Job should convict us, console us and convince us of the awesome and mysterious power of God the creator.

Father Dennis Meinen serves as chaplain at Holy Spirit Retirement Home, Sioux City, for Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in the diocese and Calix and Faithful Friar of the Garrigan 4th Degree Assembly of the Knights of Columbus, Sioux City.

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