Daily Advent Reflection: December 4th 2020

Job 29: 1–6

It would be very easy, wouldn’t it, to re-write these verses for these
times, as we live through a pandemic – ‘O that things were as they
used to be, in the months of 2019…’

This kind of lament is part of Job’s response to a series of freak events
in his life: he loses the workers and the animals on which his
livelihood depends, and then his children die in a tragic accident.
Were that not enough, his health declines, and he lives with chronic
pain. Central to his story is the question – why has this happened?
The book of Job has puzzled some people because Job’s mood seems
to shift constantly. But when you think about it, that makes perfect
sense. As Job and his wife try to process these awful events, things are

Sometimes he is hopeful; at other times, the darkness feels
impenetrable. When he remembers how things used to be, Job recalls
feeling that the friendship of God was upon his tent. But at the
moment, the friendship of God feels far away for Job.

When things are up-and-down, faith is hard. This is something that
God understands, and if we need to join Job in his lament, that is ok –
because whether we can always feel God’s presence, or whether there
are times when we cannot: God is with us.

It is Job himself who – perhaps on one of his better days – utters
words that shine a ray of hope into the darkness, like a lamp that
shines over our heads: ‘I know that my Redeemer lives, and that at
the last he will stand upon the earth’ (Job 19:25).

Nick Palfreyman

Loving God, you care deeply for each one of us, just as you cared for Job.
Be with those who have lost livelihoods; comfort those mourning for
their loved ones; give strength to the people living with pain; and be
with all who know depression. As we walk through the darkness, shine
your light to mark our way, so that we might shine for others, and they
might know your way and your love this Advent. Amen.