The inclusion of the book of Job in holy Scripture reminds us clearly that the prosperous are not always blessed, that Satan does have leave from time to time to strike terror into the lives of the Lord's people, and that the Lord's servants do not have and do not have to have all the answers to the question, "Why?"
As Job struggles to find those answers, reasoning with himself, his friends, and with God himself, he mourns, and he records his reflection on his mourning:
Job 30:25-31 – Have I not wept for those in trouble? Has not my soul grieved for the poor? Yet when I hoped for good, evil came; when I looked for light, then came darkness. The churning inside me never stops; days of suffering confront me. I go about blackened, but not by the sun; I stand up in the assembly and cry for help. I have become a brother of jackals, a companion of owls. My skin grows black and peels; my body burns with fever. My harp is tuned to mourning, and my flute to the sound of wailing. (NIV)
The Prime Minister of Canada has summoned the nation to a Day of Mourning. The President of the United States has appointed a national Day of Prayer and Remembrance.
Let us mourn. Let us mourn the loss of yet-uncounted lives created in the image of God. Let us mourn the tearing of families. Let us mourn the maiming of the survivors. Let us mourn the hatred and misguided zeal that inspire terrorist acts. Let us mourn the regrettably required redirection of national and international resources of time, talent, and treasury into searching, clearing, investigating, rebuilding. Let us mourn the fear that grips and binds. Yes, let us mourn.
Let us also pray. Let us pray for the authorities, seeking to find the lost, to aid the injured, and to apprehend the perpetrators. Let us pray, seeking comfort for the grieving. Let us pray for our enemies, whosoever they may be, that the Lord would melt hearts of stone. Let us pray for wisdom, courage, and humility to mark the words and ways of our leaders. Let us pray that the disciples of Jesus Christ may by word and deed be used of the Holy Spirit to point to Him in whom are found justice and mercy, help and hope, forgiveness and freedom.
Let us remember that after praying and mourning awhile, Job was comforted. God answered Job out of the whirlwind, offering counsel and redirecting his gaze from himself and his problems and the death and destruction which wreaked havoc upon his life and family and livelihood to God, the sovereign and sufficient and merciful and loving Creator and Redeemer. Even though all the answers to Job's questions about suffering are still not given, Job is humbled and comforted in the renewal of his faith and confession that God is God, and is then directed and enabled to pray for his friends — whose counsel was not always constructive and whose comfort was not always cleansing — and, then, finally, comes to enjoy more of the Lord's blessing than he had known before his troubles began.
Let us mourn and pray, and by example point the way for others to draw near to the God who is eager to bless His people with peace.
- Out of our bondage, sorrow, and night,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into Thy freedom, gladness and light,
Jesus, I come to Thee;
Out of the depths of ruin untold,
Into the peace of Thy sheltering fold,
Ever Thy glorious face to behold,
Jesus I come to Thee.
- William T. Sleeper