She wasn’t comfortable with this visit, but it was her duty. He had lost his son just three weeks earlier and she had conducted the funeral. The death had been sudden, tragic. The man had lost his wife only three years earlier, and his son was his life. At the funeral he had been devastated.
Now he looked peaceful, almost happy. It was very strange. Could he get over such a loss in just three weeks? He’d been away for the last two weeks, and had told nobody where he was going. Many had feared that he would commit suicide, or maybe already had. But here he was, comfortable in his own living room, accepting her pastoral visit.
“You look better,” she said.
“I am better.”
“Where have you been? Your friends have been worried.”
“I went hiking. In the wilderness. Mountains.”
“You could have been hurt. Nobody knew where you were.”
“I wasn’t hurt.”
“No, I can see that. But hiking all alone, in your condition!”
“Alone?” He paused. “I see why you say that. But no, not alone.”
“What do you mean?”
“God was with me.”
“I know that God is with you everywhere, but you need human contact.”
“No, I needed to talk to God.”
“And did God speak to you?”
“Well, yes and no.”
“Yes and no?”
“Well, there was no voice. There were just trees, rocks, streams, mountains, birds, and yes, a few animals. But I heard God.”
“And that has brought you this peace?”
“Peace? Is that what I feel? Then yes, it brought me peace.”
“So somehow in looking at the mountains you found a purpose in what happened to you?”
“No, no purpose. It still makes no sense to me at all. But I can live with it.”
“So you didn’t hear anything from God, you didn’t learn anything, but you found peace?” As she said it, she knew it was wrong. She should be celebrating his peace, not questioning it, but she couldn’t help herself.
“Oh, I did learn something from God.”
“Yes? What was it?”
“As I looked at the mountains I realized just how overwhelmingly great God is, just how much beyond my understanding.”
He paused and she waited silently.
“I learned just one thing,” he said. “I learned that God is God.”
Then YHWH answered Job out of the whirlwind and said,
“Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge.” — Job 38:1-2 (author’s translation)
Then Job answered YHWH and he said, …
“Therefore I desist, and repent in dust and ashes.” — Job 42:1,6 (author’s translation)