One of the loneliest moments in Job's story, once it appears he's been cruelly abandoned by God, is his own wife's failure to provide what therapists call affirmation and support. As we begin four weeks with questions that have no absolutely satisfactory answers (Why do the innocent suffer? Why is there suffering at all?), we also hear Jesus's teaching about marriage as a twinning into a stronger one, a union which boldly anticipates the perfect union with God that we are promised in faith.
If we're lucky, we stand by one another in adversity more dependably than Job's wife. But what if we're not married? What if we're not allowed to be? What if we're married, and it's not working out that well? Where is our shield against sorrow, the balm to ease our suffering? When it comes to human community and connection, surely our God in Christ recognizes a broad range of alternatives to loneliness and solitude. Indeed perhaps the one good thing to be said for suffering is that it can draw us closer to one another and our God. My Sunday sermon is here.
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