'MY REDEEMER LIVETH' a new look at repentance and healing

Long Ago, far away, a good man's life became a living nightmare. Enemies stole his livestock. A tornado crushed his house, killing his children. Disease ravaged him from head to foot. To add insult to injury, acquaintances mocked him and friends insisted that he must be a sinner to deserve such torture.

While today's headlines may sound equally bad, it's hard to imagine that any one person's misery could top Job's. No doubt the author of this ancient Bible allegory intended it that way. One conclusion to draw from it is that no suffering—whatever has brought it on or however damaging it appears to have been—is beyond God's redeeming power.

Like a lot of people, I've found the story of Job's redemption promising but also puzzling. Commentaries on his story speak of the mystery of suffering and how we can learn from it and be more compassionate to sufferers. Yet many believers still struggle with the idea that there are forces inside or outside themselves that can ruin their happiness and destroy their bodies. Another problem with Job's story for some is that he seems totally innocent; in the end, Job is blessed, but does God's power to heal also apply to those of us who aren't so perfect or even feel downright guilty?

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HOW TO RIGHT a wrong long past
December 11, 2006

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