“I cry aloud to God,” begins the psalmist. Railing against the sky. Lamenting, in the first half of the song, the variety of ways God’s love has, somehow, changed.
Then something happens. In the second half of this song, almost in mid-sentence, the rant shifts both attention and, more notably, intention. The focus is now on God’s mighty acts.
It’s a fitting response to the passage from Job. Psalms have a history of being used as response to Hebrew Bible passages in Christian worship. In fact, Job is a study in making that kind of shift; letting go of waving the flag of our resentments, our natural tendency to try and blame God for our misfortunes, and the world’s.
But it’s Peter’s letter that names the heart of the matter most clearly: “…have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart and [wait for it…] a humble mind.” A humble mind. Joyful humility. Is wrestling with questions — like suffering for doing good versus suffering for doing evil — even necessary?
Do Job’s sufferings and temptations deflate as he discovers new depths in his own humble heart? The wise psalmist guides us past such tribulation, even past God’s mighty acts. And our readings come together in a chorus of reliance upon God’s soothing presence. Guiding us, unseen, through turbulent waters.
Leading us gently by the hand…like a flock.
- Psalm 77
- Job 5:8-27
- 1 Peter 3:8-18 a