Readings for the Fifth Sunday after Pentecost
Job 38:1-11; 2 Corinthians 6:1-13; Mark 4:35-41
Due to the terrible misfortunes that he suffered, Job could no longer see God working in his life. He didn’t doubt God’s existence. But he had lost all sense of God’s presence. “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there, and backward, but I do not perceive him;” (Job 23:8). Graciously, God did not remain silent, but answered Job’s request for a hearing. His answer was more of a rebuke than a comfort, implying that Job’s pride was to blame for his lack of trust (Job 38). In our times of hurt and confusion we may respond the same way.
But this is not God’s only response to our suffering, nor His greatest. A similar scene plays out in our Gospel reading where the disciples -terrified of drowning as their boat fills with water- cry out to Jesus and accuse him of not caring about their plight. The great difference in this case is that God is not hidden from their sight. He is right there with them in the boat in the person of His Son Jesus! Yet still, their faith is lacking (Mk 4)
Again and again in God’s Word we are assured not only that God is in control of all the forces in this world (including those that threaten us), but also that God cares about our struggles and will not abandon us even when we pridefully complain or fearfully doubt. The greatest sign of this fact is the life, death and resurrection of Jesus – which is God’s definitive answer to the problem of evil and suffering in the world.
In our Epistle lesson, Paul offers a faithful response to the hardships of his ministry. Through all the pains and losses he experienced, Paul’s faith helped him to hold onto the joy and spiritual riches that Christ gives even when times are tough (2Cor 6).