Saturday of Week 26 in Ordinary Time
“I know that You can do all things”
It’s rather strange, but one of the memories that seem to always remain vivid in our minds is that precise moment when we first started being able to cycle. It may not be true for all, but it is certainly true for me. I have a number of deep scars on my palms and knees to prove it. I can even remember this vividly, not just for myself, but also when I taught my niece to cycle – that moment when she was able to cycle independently for the first time. These would be moments that come after countless failed attempts. Countless moments of fear and trepidation about falling down and hurting ourselves. Countless moments of not having the courage to keep our eyes off our feet – as if we would forget to keep paddling if we were to lift our eyes for even a moment. Perhaps the reason why this remains lucid in our minds is precisely because it was a moment when we finally managed to conquer our fear of falling and to be able to reap the rewards of that conquest.
The reading on Job today is on how his persevering faith and fidelity to God resulted in the fruits of God’s abundant blessings upon him. How God restored him to health, wealth and, most importantly, true spiritual enlightenment. Job was finally able to see that God is in control. That He had always been in control. And that He is always true to His promises. It brings to mind some of the Beatitudes: that for the poor in spirit, they will experience Heaven; that for those who mourn, they will be comforted; that for the meek and humble, they will inherit the earth; and that for those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, they shall be satisfied.
How many of us would want to go through the suffering Job did? None. Not one of us. You would be quite mad and certainly quite the masochist if you indeed choose to experience the death of all your loved ones, the loss of all your wealth and material possessions, to see yourself struck down in a humiliating and debilitating illness, to have to go through the pity, condescension and condemnation of your community, and the betrayal of those whom you thought were your friends. The loneliness, desperation and despair of having to go through all that. Hence, all of us can also probably empathize with Job at the moment when he ‘lost it’ with God. Enough was enough. What sort of God would do this to one who has placed all his faith, hope and love in Him? That if we had a ‘friend’ like this in God, who needs enemies? We’ve all been there. We’ve all had the ‘Job moments’ in our own lives. The ‘where the hell are you God?!!’ moments. It is not a good place to be in.
In contrast, the message of Jesus in the story of Job as well as in the Beatitudes, is one of humility, charity, and abiding hope and trust. It teaches about transformation of the inner person. Jesus presents the Beatitudes and the conclusion of Job’s story, in a positive sense — that virtues in life will ultimately lead to reward – not necessarily on this earth, but guaranteed in the next. Persevering trust and hope in God becomes the motivation for the Christian. All of the Beatitudes have an eschatological meaning, that is, they promise us salvation — not in this world, but in the next.
For Job, although he received earthly blessings when God restored his family, his wealth and his health, the true blessings Job will receive, will be at the end of his life. That through his struggle, his angst and his heart-wrenching tussle with God, he was able to persevere in trust in God. That was Job’s ‘bicycle moment’ – when he was given, his salvation. When he was able to discover that God still had his back, in spite of everything.
Jesus reminds us in Matthew 11:27: “All things have been handed to me by my Father”. Like Job, let us also be reminded today, that all things have also been handed to us by that same loving Father. To recognize that precise moment when we finally let go of our fears, and come to the realization that true joy can only be attained when our hearts are at peace and free from anxiety. When our souls are finally able to grasp the truth of the infinite love of God for us and to abandon ourselves to His will. Not with fear and trepidation, doubt and reservation, but with the total confidence, as of a child safe in the arms of His loving Father who will look after His own, with the utmost care. Being thus free from the worries and concerns of what the future may bring in this life, we will finally be able to fully experience the joy of returning God’s love.
Look up – get your eyes off your pedals, and see the road ahead of you. Let go of your fear. Trust instead, in the invisible hands holding you perfectly safe – and start enjoying the ride.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Justus Teo)
Prayer: Father help us. We are so deep in the depths of our fears, and our doubts. We do not dare to let ourselves go to You because we have not learnt how to trust you. We do not yet know of your love for us. For we are choked by the cares of this world and by our sins which block the light of your love shining through our darkness.
Thanksgiving: Father, thank you for loving us as your children. For all you have done for us. For understanding us, comforting us, waiting for us, welcoming and not rejecting us, listening to us and answering our prayers despite all the times we continue to fail to see and to doubt.