Job 40: 6 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: 7 “Gird up your loins like a man; I will question you, and you declare to me. 8 Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be justified?
In the theology of his day Job and his contemporaries expected bad things to happen to bad/unrighteous people and good things to happen to the righteous. Job is declared by God in Job chapter 1 to be a righteous man – yet Job experiences incredible tragedy. How can this be? If Job is righteous, which we are told by the author in the first chapter of the book, then God must be unjust. If God is in the right bringing tragedy to Job, then Job must be in the wrong. They can’t both be right. Right?
But what if they are?
This is the crux of the tension in the book of Job. The truth is that Job is indeed righteous and God is indeed just. It is Satan, not God, who has brought this calamity upon Job. It’s an option that Job and his friends cannot conceive in the binary either/or thinking of the day.
At its best the church represents a third way in an either/or culture. As the church we are able to embrace people with very different political/social beliefs because we have a core identity which the secular world lacks. We understand that we are all (progressive and conservative) in need of new life in Jesus. Our highest priority then is to embrace a life in which we love God, love each other, and love the world – and then share that life with others. Even those with whom we disagree.
In the church we can think differently and yet be one in Jesus Christ. Lord let it be so. Amen.