Job: My Lenten Friend

I’m preaching at a Lenten Lunch later today. St. Paul’s Episcopal and Central United Methodist are hosting the event in conjunction with the Downtown Church Association. My text is Job 42. Job is my Lenten friend. The ashy old man from the OT helps me see Lenten possibilities.

Some possibilities for this year’s Lent are:

We can see God. Job 42:5
Job went from a theoretical understanding of God to a very personal one. He experienced God in the deep places of his heart and was changed by the encounter. I believe God wants all people to make this move. He is interested in us having a deep and personal relationship with him.

We can repent. Job 42:6
When Job encountered God he recognized both God’s holiness and his sin. He turned to God for new life. Ralph Wood says that the South is, “a Christ haunted place.” We have symbols of the faith littered all over the countryside. One of these symbols is the ever present, hand-painted, roadside admonition, “REPENT!” Some respond to the call to repent in an entirely negative way but repentance is a beautiful biblical concept. It’s the invitation to life. Lent reminds us of the hopeful power of repentance.

We can pray for our friends. Job 42:8
Job’s friends did not give him much help in his time of need. They piled up a bunch of bad theology and bumper sticker religion and dumped it on his head. God, however, would not let Job live in bitterness. He called him to forgive them and pray for them. We live in a broken world. We are hurt by and hurt our friends. Lent is a good time to release the bitterness and pray for each other. So often we would rather hold the bait of bitterness and stay in the snare.

We can be restored. Job 42:10
God worked restoration in Job’s life. He wants to do the same in our lives. In fact, restoration is one of the major themes of scripture. He may want to restore: your faith, your passion for service, you love for you wife… Some of us are grasping bitterness and un-forgiveness to the point that we are unable to receive gifts from God’s hand. What does God want to restore in your life this spring?

I’ve been guided by these thoughts this Lenten season and I hope they are a blessing to you.

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