This week we are meeting Job as he suffers.  This may raise a lot of questions of concerns in children.  Why do bad things happen to people?  This is an issue in my house.  I listen to the news on the radio and my children hear about wars, fires, famine, flooding.  Sometimes I must turn it off for all the sadness.  What can I tell them when they ask why these happen to people?  The truth, I don't know.  But what I can remind them is the lesson we learned last week:  God is always with us.  In good times and bad.  That is what Job knew.  He praised God when he was a wealthy man.  He continued to praise Him when all his worldly goods were taken away. 

The story of Job does not fit into any particular time or location. In fact, early Jewish interpreters viewed it as a parable on suffering of the righteous.  Suffering has always existed in this world, and many times those that suffer have done nothing to deserve it.  This book explores how to respond to suffering, on an individual level.

We leave Job this week when he has be struck fatally ill.  We do not understand why he is suffering all this misfortune.  We only know that he is not turning against God.  Having learned the story of Job as a child, I thought this a curious place to leave off.  My young students may be saddened.  They won't understand.  But I suppose there is never an easy way to explain away suffering.  There is a saying, misfortunes come in threes.  I clung to this last fall when I suffered two misfortunes pretty close together.  I joked that I just needed a third and I was done.  When that third came, I said I was done for the rest of the year.  Unfortunately, that is not how life works.  By the end of the year we suffered two more misfortunes.  Could I blame God for my old oil burner? What would be the point.  That seems like a silly thing for God to be concentrating on.  But I could know that he was with us as we tried to figure out how to pay for the new one. 

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