Saturday, September 3, 2011

Saved: A Tale of Human History and Divine Mystery

Trial and hardship are one of the oldest tales in human history. Early in the story of Job, the loyal servant of the Lord loses everything and worships God in response. In effort to address my own trials, I look at Job and ask, how did he not blame God? It seems like a natural human response to challenge our devotion and perception of the divine when things get tough. What makes Job different from so many of us? Perhaps, he knew that some things in life are a mystery.

In the face of trial, salvation takes on a different meaning. If we’re not “saved” from trials and hardships, what are we saved for? Maybe, it’s so we lean on God when we don’t understand. Maybe, it’s so we remember that we are not gods. Maybe, it’s so we can testify that God brought us out of our situations. Maybe, it’s so we’ll receive the gift of grace by the faith God has given us. Or, maybe it’s all a part of life and we don’t have a decent answer.

Normally, this is the point where I’d try to bring things together in a well thought out theological package, but that part of me feels lost amidst the mysteries of life and mysteries of God. In college, I said, “The more I learn, the less I know.” Today, the more things I survive and endure, the less I understand. Now, I wonder, how do we live with mysteries?

It’s not always easy or natural to lean on God. Sometimes, it feels like we’d have a better go of things if we were gods; but deep down, that’s just a fantasy to make us feel better about the state of life. In turn, testifying of God’s victory only serves as a means of comfort. Faith and grace don’t always leave us with comfort in hard times; yet, they might keep us going when we don’t have anything left inside. Whatever it is, God has to know how it works because it’s a mystery that we’re all facing together. I don’t have answers and I don’t understand; all I have are pleas for mercy, comfort, and rest. Thus, God is still God and I am not like Job because I am lost in the mystery – hoping God will “save” me from something.

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