Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Easter Season ~ Job: Testing and Restoration

Job teaches us to Persevere.

His long monologues reflect the profound drama of the heart's spiritual formation.

His speeches explore shades of despair, bitterness, anger, grief, resignation, false hope, and genuine hope. His struggle to understand the contours of his pain inspires us to delve into the Mysteries of God and our own heart and understanding.

One of the deep lessons Job learns is that the God he thought he knew is different from the God who had been watching over him all along. Pain limited Job's reality, but gave him the tools to deepen it also.

A new knowledge of God is the Blessed Result.

One man wrote at length about experiences such as Job's, and through his wisdom we can come to better understand many of the truths first revealed in the book of Job. John of the Cross's "The Dark Night of the Soul" describes God's process of maturing souls through allowing times of suffering and darkness in their lives. A sixteenth century Carmelite monk, John faced such a dark night himself while under arrest and in confinement for his work to reform within the Church.

"God must take spiritual consolation away in order to purify the soul," John writes. He describes how God worked in Job's life and how He works in the lives of those who know Him today. "Because of His Love for us, God urges us to grow up. His Love is not content to leave us in our weakness, and for this reason He takes us into a dark night. He weans us from all the pleasures by giving us dry times and inward darkness......Through the dark night pride becomes humility, greed becomes simplicity, wrath becomes contentment, luxury becomes peace, gluttony becomes moderation, envy becomes joy, and sloth becomes strength. No soul will ever grow deep in the spiritual life unless God works passively in that soul by means of the dark night." (The Renovare' Spiritual Formation Bible)

"You have granted me life and steadfast love, and Your care has preserved my spirit." (Job 10:12)

"Now, nothing wills and works with God but the Spirit of Love because nothing else works in God Himself. The Almighty brought forth all nature for this only end that boundless Love might have its infinity of height and depth to dwell and work in. All the striving and working properties of nature are only to give essence and substance, life and strength to the invisible hidden Spirit of Love, that it may come forth into outward activity and manifest its blessed powers, that creatures born in the strength and out of the powers of nature might communicate the Spirit of Love and goodness, give and receive mutual delight and joy to and from one another." (William Law)

Faith is the assurance of the answer to all we take into prayer. With God, the healing, the guidance, the peace that we seek or that others seek are indeed ours.
Faith is holding to the blessings we Know to be true even when physical symptoms and feelings of concern indicate otherwise.
Thank You, Loving God. Thank You, Christ Jesus. Thank You, Holy Spirit. Amen.

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