Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏩ ⏹️
Job Accused, by William Blake c.1785
They pluck the fatherless from the breast, and take a pledge of the poor. They cause him to go naked without clothing, and they take away the sheaf from the hungry; Which make oil within their walls, and tread their winepresses, and suffer thirst. Men groan from out of the city, and the soul of the wounded crieth out: yet God layeth not folly to them.
— Job 24:9-12
After being accused by his three interlocutors, who suggest to be suffering as he is Job must have sinned greatly against God. No other explanation seems possible to them. To Job it does, and he switches from the pious character in the opening chapters to an angry, accusatory character, berating God for His injustice, first against himself, and then against the world in general, suggesting that while evildoers take advantage of the powerless, whose hardship worsens, God does nothing to punish them, rather appears to endorse such injustice. The same could be said today, that is, if we believe in Job's micro-managing God, which many still do. Remember, we make God in the image of man, and while humans continue to run businesses and countries by control and manipulation they will thus consider that God behaves the same way.
I do not believe as Job and his friends believed. I choose not to acknowledge such a puppet-master God (and I also speak out against humans who behave this way). God, as an evolutionary force, created the creatures of this world as autonomous beings, capable of choice. That we choose to behave badly has nothing to do with puppetry or destiny. That is only to make excuses, and to blame. The problem with Job is he sat around moaning and lamenting, rather than attempting to heal and to rebuild. Of course, when we allow ourselves such self-pitying, self-indulgence we will slip into depression. The antidote is action, reaching out to the others in our community to ask for help, but perhaps more importantly to offer help. There are always others worse off than ourselves. Misfortune is usually outside our control, but suffering is optional.