In the Terror of Despair and Suffering, What Did Job See? The Promise of Redemption

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Many Episcopal churches throughout the world recently used the Old Testament lesson, Job 19, as the text for their sermons for the day.

In this passage set in the land of Israel, Job, the wealthy and prosperous citizen of Oz who had been viciously attacked by Satan, had suddenly lost everything – not only his mansions and all his farms and thousands of his animals – but more viciously his children. They had all been snatched away because of Satan’s attack on this man of God, Job.

Yes, it was the good Lord Himself who had invited Satan to visit Job and see if he (Satan) could shake Job’s faith. “Have you considered my servant Job, who is faithful to me?” God once asked Satan.

“Of course I have,” Satan replied. “But how would he not be faithful to you since you have given him all his heart’s desires – a wife, many children and abundant material riches also?”

“Well,” said the Lord, “You may go visit Job and do anything you wish to him, but I will not allow you to take his life.”

So Satan proceeded to do just that – he went on a rampage and took away everything Job had, including his children and all of his material possessions. This rich man of Oz, the envy of many, had suddenly lost everything! Moreover, he was struck by a terrible skin disease of boils, the stench from which was unbearable to himself and to all around him. It was at that point that Job’s wife told him, “You are suffering too much. Curse God and die.”

But Job responded in words that since then have been quoted by all suffering human beings who believe in God. “The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord,” Job told his wife.

Job then uttered one of the permanent realities of human existence which no one, believer or non-believer, can refute: “Naked came I into the world and naked shall I return.”

But in all of his theological ruminations (musings, reflections), Job saw something far more important. He saw the messianic vision hundreds of years before the Immaculate Conception – the virgin birth. Amid his suffering and desperation, Job declared, “I know that my Redeemer lives.” These visionary words were captured by the musical genius Handel in the greatest anthem of all time, Handel’s Messiah – I know that my Redeemer liveth!”

Why, the reader we are sure is asking, these theological ruminations from the Daily Observer today?

The answer, for a very important reason, is about Liberia, a land and a nation that has suffered for over a century and a half, wallowing still in ignorance, poverty and disease, the three horses of the Apocalypse, with seemingly no end in sight. Remember,
Job saw his vision decades before David was born and hundreds of years before the “Son of David,” Jesus Christ, was even thought of.

Yet, the reassuring hymn “God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform,” also adds,

“A thousand ages in thy sight,

Are like an evening gone;

Short as the watch that ends the night,

Before the rising sun.”

In other words, a thousand ages for God is just like one night.

So as we in Liberia face the 2017 elections, let us muster (gather, arouse), in our long night of despair, suffering and underdevelopment, the faith of Job, most especially his messianic vision, “I know that my Redeemer lives.”

What this means for us is not so much that Jesus is coming soon. Remember, He came hundreds of years after Job spoke his visionary assertion.

But because of Job’s faith and inspiring expressions, God responded by completely delivering his faithful servant from all his calamities and suffering, and restoring him a hundredfold!

Can we in Liberia muster that same faith, and believe and know that God is about to work a wonder in our lives by giving us a leader who will bring about a messianic change in Liberia?

As it was possible for Job, let us believe that it is definitely possible for us. Let us keep praying, trusting and working, with the unswerving faith that it will happen. Liberia, within a short space of time, WILL BE REDEEMED, delivered to move forward not just as Africa’s first, but one of her great Republics.

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