In his book The Problem of Pain, C. S. Lewis points out: “… the proper good of a creature is to surrender itself to its Creator.” In Job Chapter 3, this act of surrender is part of Job’s challenge. I think it’s safe to say Job was no different than me (or you?) in that he didn’t particularly enjoy suffering. However, because we’re the creatures, surrendering ourselves to the Creator’s intent may be a proper good, the right thing to do, the means through which creative objects derive their meaning … but this surrender isn’t always an easy thing for us!
There’s an interesting dynamic in the Book of Job. Reading the text today provides us with the exact situation … the back-story (if you will) to which Job himself wasn’t privy. We know from Chapters 1 and 2 that Job’s suffering transpires because of a heavenly conversation between Almighty God and Satan. Satan has requested permission from God to torment and cruelly sift Job in order to demonstrate that Job’s faith is worthless under heavy pressure. Satan thinks he can prove Job’s a man of fair-weather faith.
Job doesn’t know any of this. All he knows is his life has suddenly gone terribly wrong. He’s suffered huge material losses, the annihilation of his family and finally, the destruction of his physical health. Summing up his life, all Job really knows is: Life sucks! Continue reading “Purposeful Suffering”