Job’s friend Eliphaz does not get everything right in the Book of Job. But as he talks with his friend and tries to figure out what is going on in Job’s life, he makes an interesting observation. He points out just how frail and perishable life can be.
When we approach God, we are often thinking about our current feelings or circumstances. We are zeroed in on our setting for today and we want God to help. We want our negative feelings to go away and our circumstances to change. We want more understanding spouses and more patient bosses. We want a raise and a car and a satisfying vacation.
We want to be healthy lions that growl and roar. We want to eradicate negativity and feel perfectly good all of the time. But we are perishable creatures living in a decaying world. When one circumstance is “fixed”, we are soon to discover new challenges and new discontent. When our negative feelings subside, they are only at peace until another expectation is unmet or a value is threatened. We will continue to struggle with feeling and with circumstances beyond our control.
Like Job, even if we do everything right, life is still a challenge, a mystery. God wants us to see past the limits of feeling and circumstance and trust in him. It is the only way to eternity, an invitation to participate in something that transcends the temporal while still living in a temporal reality. It is the gift of God and the challenge of today.