"I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be hindered.
I have dealt with great things that I do not understand,
things too wonderful for me, which I cannot know.
I had heard of you by word of mouth,
but now my eye has seen you.
Therefore I disown what I have said, and repent in dust and ashes."
- Job 42: 1-6
I have found this passage particularly helpful as of late. Sr. Mary Margaret, my spiritual director at the Visitation Monastery in North Minneapolis, has had me meditating on the book of Job.
Everyone knows of Job right? This fellow who knew some serious trials and tribulations! A good guy in the Old Testament, who loses pretty much everything: home, family, a content demeanor. This stand up fellow, who is prosperous and sort of "jolly," I think you'd say, is struck by a run of cruel events that include a horrible skin affliction from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. Yea. "This skin affliction?" you might wonder: Boils. Were I him, I think I would have personally been done about the time that the boils showed up all over my body. (I'm a wimp when it comes to pussy lump infections on skin!)
You know what happens, too, with Job and his wife and friends? They look at all his trials and tribulations, and since they make no rationale sense, they believe Job must have done something to deserve them! They blame him for his woeful circumstances....Now: how helpful do you suppose this is?
Ack! Not so much!
But it's all just blessed humanity!
The book is an awesome one, as it gets at the very heart of the human condition, the heart of human suffering. It reveals beautifully our attempt at trying to understand our circumstances, (our broken hearts, our lost jobs, our failed performances, our ailing pocketbooks, our aching earth, our passing-away or departed loved ones) and provides us all with this beautifully rich and miserable protagonist: Job!
I have not had boils, but I have known the equivalent of pussy gross infections in my spirit -- this ugly and ouchy thing that is like doubt and dejection and uncertainty beyond uncertainty where Love is concerned. Whew! Not fun! Not pretty!
But what is sort of fun, or at least reconciling, given Mary Margaret's assignment: is reading the book of Job, and coming to this part in Chapter 42...Coming to this other side, where there is a
realization that there are things "too wonderful" to really get. But we don't have to. I don't have to. Because some benevolent and loving thing that I call God, does get them. And God can do all things. No purpose of this Loving Creator can be hindered.
How awesome is that?!
And all my cursing and questioning, I can release. I can ask this to be dissolved -- like dust and ashes -- so that something a new might be seen, born, realized.
I rest on this last image of dust and ashes...And I think of a phoenix. Of a bird rising from the fire and ashes, and I look to the restoration of Job, and I know: no matter how long suffering persists, there is love. There is something good my eyes will see. There are wonderful things this very minute. Yes.
Do you believe this?
In Peace, Contemplation, Prayer,