Friday, May 02, 2008

Under the Thorns

Book Drawing: Leave a comment here or email me at and I’ll enter your name for a May book drawing to win a copy of The Stained Glass Pickup. The April winner is Wanda D/Texas.

Under the Thorns

If you live in the south and you hurry, you might find enough tasty wild dewberries to make pies or jams. For folk higher above sea level, who read this in other venues, you have a few weeks before the native berries in your areas ripen. I almost filled a two quart pail this morning and plan to berry pick again before the day is over.

My simple equipment is a light bucket, thin cotton gloves and a big stick. The “shoo” stick is just in case I see a snake because I’ve encountered them curled under vines when I poked my hand into their resting places.

I’m fascinated that under dense leaves and prickly thorns – the sweetest, most plump berries are found. Thorns and sweet berries don’t seem to complement each other, but maybe they do.

Job is a classic Bible example of hardship and healing. In domino-falling catastrophes, he lost his children, servants, possessions, position of honor, and his health.

In desperation, his wife asked, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” (2:9). I have great sympathy for Mrs. Job because everything Job lost, she lost, too. While enduring the unimaginable pain of all her children passing, she also watched as illness caused her husband to become a living skeleton.

Then their friends pounced, accusing this godly man of committing some grave wrong. They assumed that a fate-gavel had sentenced him justly, but readers of Job’s whole story get to lift the leaves and thorny stems and find the hidden berries.

We know the beginning of the story when God allowed Job’s losses, and that scene somewhat explains “why” all the thorns. Also, we know Job’s epilogue, how God cast extreme kindness on every facet of Job and his wife’s later lives.

The text reveals that Job survived the pain with his faith in tact. Did Job have any idea how his story would traverse time in oral stories and finally in print, encouraging trillions-plus through the biblical narrative?

I certainly don’t long for spiritual growth diploma-ed from the school of trials, but I’ve experienced enough mild suffering to know that a bitter experience can teach lessons that mountains of candy-coated moments cannot.

In chapters 38-41, God asks Job many rhetorical questions, questions that reveal God’s creative hand and sovereignty. I adore Job’s response at the end of God’s recital, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes” (42:5-6).

After the thorny events of life almost killed him, God came near revealing himself to Job. God didn’t waste Job’s pain. Through Job’s suffering and intimate moments with God, he learned and we learn that God is always the sweetest find of all.

No comments:

Post a Comment