Over the weekend I was a bit preoccupied by the many ways in which those I love, (friends, family and parishioners), suffer.
It was yesterday’s first reading from the Old Testament book of Job that got me pondering. Job was a good man and his suffering came about only because of the devil trying to prove to God that Job loved God only because his life was free of suffering. You can read the story in summary at this link. God allows satan to take everything from Job except his life and Job then loses his crops and livestock, children, wives, and even his health. God of course wins the wager with satan because Job, even without all these good things, continues to pray the one line from this account that is used in casual conversation even today” “The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”
Job does not deny the reality of his suffering. In fact his lament is almost torturous: “So I have been assigned months of misery, and troubled nights have been allotted to me. If in bed I say, “When shall I arise?” then the night drags on; I am filled with restlessness until the dawn. (Job 7).
In the midst of his struggle Job remembers that his deepest desire is not for farming success, or even for perfect wives and children, or his own health. Job knows that his deepest desire is to live with God in every circumstance.
Whatever circumstances you find yourself in at the start of this new work and school week, these circumstances are simply the environment in which God is seeking to live intimately with you. And this intimacy with God is your deepest human desire.