Some of you know that I am a person of faith. A Christian.

I do not flout this. Nor am I ashamed of it. It is not a secret to this blog, though it is not its subject matter. My faith is personal to me, and my expression of it is as imperfect as my person is.

During these difficult, frightening times, I want contribute more positive thoughts, more expressions of my personal faith on this blog, in addition to its usual content. For me, this is not paradoxical.

My faith is where I draw strength; it is the source of my optimism, courage and my hope. What goodness I have comes from it.

And it is my choice. Without the freedom to express faith, or to abstain from its expression, or from the belief in it, Christianity becomes endangered. And it can become superficial.

I do not expect any of you to read my expressions, now, or anytime. I appreciate it when you do, hope that you will, and understand if you don’t, for whatever reasons.

My door is open.


Here is a portion of the story of Job, taken primarily from the first two chapters of Job, in my words. I hope you will read it, from the Bible, for yourself.

Job had a wife. He had seven sons and three daughters, who he loved very much. He was a man of great wealth. In fact, he had an empire of wealth that stretched far and wide. He was mightily blessed.

Job was a humble, reverent man. The fathoms of his faith ran deep. He abstained from things that most of us would describe as mere indiscretions, without being self-righteous about it. At a time when lawlessness was the way of the earth and there were no tablets bearing commandments of do’s and don’ts, Job aspired to have a pure heart.

God was pleased with Job. Satan knew this, of course.

One day a host of angels visited God. Satan was there too, mingled in the crowd. God saw him and asked, “where have you been?”

“Walking,” Satan answered. “Back and forth across the earth.”

“Then you must have observed my servant Job,” God said. “There is no one else on earth like him. He is a man of perfect integrity. He has an unwavering, genuine respect for me.”

“No. It is not unwavering. It is not genuine,” Satan argued. “It’s because you have babied him. And protected him. You’ve given him everything he wants. You have even given him things he didn’t ask for. But, if you were to reach out your hand and strike him, if you took away everything he has, he would curse you.”

God did not believe this. He knew Job’s heart was good and strong.

“He would,” Satan insisted. “And he will. If you test him.”

Of course God could have struck Satan, but he didn’t. He could have exercised his all knowing providence, but he didn’t. God trusted Job.

“All right,” God told Satan, “I will not strike Job. But I will allow you to do it. You can strike everything he has. But you cannot touch Job himself.”

So Satan left the presence of God.

One day while Job’s sons and daughters were having a big party, bands of marauders swooped in from the hills and captured most of his herds and killed most of his servants. Then, immediately after that, a lightning storm struck and caused a terrible fire that consumed the rest of Job’s herds and servants, except for a few messengers who ran to tell Job the terrible news. Then, before the fire burnt out, a powerful tornado collapsed the structure where Job’s children had gathered, killing them all.

All of this in a single day.

Job was overwhelmed with grief. In its throes he tore off his clothes and shaved his head. Then he fell to his knees and worshiped God.

He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I leave this life. The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Praise be the name of God.”

Through all of this Job did not curse God.

One day a host of angles visited God. Satan showed up with them again.

God asked him, “where have you been?”

“Walking,” Satan answered. “Back and forth across the earth.”

“Then you must have observed my servant Job,” God said. “There is no one else on earth like him. He is a man of perfect integrity. He has an unwavering, genuine respect for me, even though I have allowed you to strike him without just cause. Even though, to him, it is as if I have struck him with my own hand.”

“That’s because he has no skin in the game,” Satan replied. “A man will sacrifice everything he has for his own life. Reach out and strike his flesh and bones and then you will see how much he respects you. And how much integrity he possesses. Do it and he will curse you.”

“All right then,” God told Satan. “He is in your power. But you cannot take his life.”

So Satan left the Lord’s presence. Then he inflected Job with terrible, seeping sores from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. In his agony Job took a shard of pottery and scraped himself with it.

Job’s wife scoffed at him. “What good is your reverence and integrity now? Why don’t you curse God and die?”

“You speak foolishly,” Job replied. “Should we only accept what is good from God and not accept adversity also?”

Then three of Job’s friends came to visit him after they heard about what happened. As they approached they did not recognize him. When they did, they wept over his condition and sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. But they did not talk to him because his suffering was so intense.

During all of this, Job never cursed God. But he did curse the day he was born. And he questioned why God had allowed this to happen.

To be cont’d…