After God responds to Job, God asks Job for his response. The Almighty gave Job ample reasons to reframe his response to the suffering he’s experienced. God explained the complexities of creation, and the chaos within the created order. God seems surprised at the way Job succumbed to disillusionment.
Job responds to God by backing out of the dispute. After hearing the perspective of the Author of life, Job has no rebuttal to offer: See, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth (v. 4). If we could hear the tone in his voice, would it be the definition of humility? This gesture of deference that Job uses, I lay my hand on my mouth, is the same gesture that distinguished persons from his community showed to him in 29:9. Job makes it clear that he knows he may have overstepped his boundaries by challenging God. For Job, the consequence of living through catastrophe has been losing his trust in God. To truly live again, he must learn to trust again.
Through their dialogue, Job realizes the limits of human comprehension when it comes to understanding the God who is infinitely more than we can grasp. Yet, made in God’s image, humankind is created with the capacity for deep loyalty to God. As we call upon God, this relationship grows. Even in suffering, we receive God’s strength to endure. Our hope becomes a peace that passes understanding, an assurance of God’s presence at all times.
How do we rebuild our relationships after trust has been shattered? When have you seen the hard work of honest dialogue restore what was broken?
Merciful God, thank you for your grace. Through your love we can find new meaning in life, even after horrific events. Help us to trust you more each day. Amen.