Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Ashes

Not once through all this did Job sin; not once did he blame God. (Job 1:22 Msg)


When it comes to Lent, I'm out of practice. I fail to think in terms of how I will commemorate the passion of Jesus through my own behavior, so while my friends are giving up chocolate or swearing or their favorite television show or (perish the thought) blogging, in recent years I've shrugged and returned to my everyday life.

This year, however, for some reason I have Lent in mind. Maybe it's because last night I ate way too much for dinner, but even though I had Jambalaya and dirty rice, I didn't make the connection to Mardi Gras till much later.

No, I think I have Lent in mind because Lent builds up to Good Friday, and Good Friday is the day that Jesus died. And so by participating in Lenten observances we are acknowledging that the world as currently composed is not good. And lately, that's how I've been feeling.

Maybe it's because I got a traffic ticket I don't feel I deserved. Maybe it's because I got bad news about my book. Maybe it's because I have yet to secure a publisher's permission to write my second book. Maybe it's because I have far too low an opinion of the world, or far too high an opinion of myself.

Anyway, I've noticed that my behavior of late has been informed at least in part by all this bad feeling I've got. I've been grumbly and self-pitying. I've been short and sharp with my friends and colleagues. I've allowed myself to be bad in these ways because I have evidence that the world is not good.

So this Lenten season I decided to read through the book of Job, because let's be honest, that dude's life really sucked. He had everything, until in one moment, he found he had nothing. And in that moment, his character was defined by this simple statement:

Not once through all this did Job sin; not once did he blame God. (Job 1:22 Msg)


Oh, I know I'll find over the next several weeks that Job will have a hard time keeping his chin up and his upper lip stiff. But I hope I'll also find that the trouble Job experienced--which far outweighs any minor inconvenience I've been plagued with over the course of my privileged life--is known and noted and suffered through by the God who called him friend. That same God calls us friend still today, and he bids us keep our chin up, for through the passion of Jesus, he has overcome the world.

3 comments:

Jenn said...

Sorry about the bad news. Thanks for the thoughts.

Web said...

It's easy to get wrapped up in the negativity that surrounds us every day. Things don't go exactly as we would have them go - so we get upset; angry; a feeling of betrayal...

I had been living that way for years and still struggle with it today. But there are people in my life that continually remind me of where I am in my life. Is everything so bad in my life that the good things that I do have get little to no attention? Sometimes my perception of the world leads me to believe that. Those are hard days to get through without becoming a grumpy-butt.

Plus, because it is getting closer to the time that we celebrate the resurrection, there will be forces at work to try to distract us from what is really important.

So in the infamous words of Charles De Mar, "Buck up little camper, we'll beat that slope together." -- and by we, I mean us and Jesus... right?

David A. Zimmerman said...

Dan Webster, you're my hero.