Light breaks in through the gloom
By HO CHEE SIN
A CHRISTMAS carol tells us to "Deck the halls with boughs
'tis the season to be jolly", but the mood
for many people this Christmas is far from jolly.
Many wonder if " happy days (will) ever return" (Straits Times, Oct 20, 2002). Robbed of the joys of a family reunion, the families of victims of terrorist acts would most likely ask, "Where is the joy of Christmas?"
To answer that question, let us look at Job. He lost all the things which humans count as necessary in life. It is an amazing story of disaster, which strikes the human spirit.
The book begins with Satan, by divine permission, gaining access to Job and then, on a single day, caused tragedy to strike in this man's life by removing all that he held dear: his family, wealth, health and prestige. What a tragic day that must have been! But this was not all. God then gave Satan permission to afflict Job physically. Job suffered a terrible siege of boils, which persisted week after week.
Anyone with such boils or carbuncles knows how terribly painful it is. Job felt abandoned by all his friends. Even his wife finally reached the end of her endurance and patience. She reproached him, telling him to curse God and die. Job sat alone in the ash heap bemoaning his terrible lot, seeing no reason for it.
Finally, to make matters worse, three friends who came to comfort him, told him that suffering such as this could result only from hidden sin, and that Job was covering up something. It was an unjust accusation. Job, in anguish, asked his friends to leave him alone in his agony and painful suffering. Worse still, he felt that he could not reach God with his cries, and that even if he could, the greatness of God was such that it would overwhelm him and he would not even be able to explain how he felt. This caused him a terrible sense of frustration.
|But suddenly, light broke in through the gloom. Out of his terrible sense of agony, anguish and frustration, Job saw a glimpse of hope and faith. He uttered: "For I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been destroyed, then in my flesh I shall see God." (Job 19:25,26). In this brief moment he saw a Kinsman-Redeemer, who would have the strength and the ability to deliver. Also, he would work his way out through a death and a resurrection. Then the light faded as he sank back into the gloom, and Job began to cry out again, "My heart faints within me!"||
The Rev Ho Chee Sin is a retired Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore. He is attached to the Local Conference of Kampong Kapor Methodist Church.