I’ve always taken Job as a book where God puts Job in his place and we need to be content with the mystery of suffering. And that’s true as far as it goes … but it doesn’t go far enough. There’s a purpose to Job’s suffering. Beyond teaching us about the mystery of suffering, it shows us how profoundly God wants a relationship with us. If it was just about putting us in our place, we could have finished our series last Sunday. Job has been definitively put in his place.
But it’s about more than that. We’ll see on Sunday that God keeps pushing Job so there can be reconciliation. I’ll leave the details for Sunday, but as I was reflecting on some supplementary content to get us ready for Sunday, the phrase “The Hound of Heaven” came to mind.
I don’t know much about “The Hound of Heaven,” apart from it being a rich image of God’s pursuit of us and that it was an old poem. So I Googled it.
I wasn’t disappointed.
It’s well over a hundred years old, so there was something haunting and compelling about it, but with the dated language, it was just a little out of reach. As I didn’t have the time nor patience to sit with it as it deserves, it didn’t resonate as deeply with me as I thought it might. I had Richard Burton read it to me on YouTube, but his pace was so quick that I couldn’t follow well. I know, I know, the fault is mine, not Burton’s, but it is what it is.
But as you may know, YouTube is always trying to help you stay on their page as long as possible, so they gave other options. So I clicked on a modern adaptation of “The Hound of Heaven.”
It was haunting, in a wonderful, moving way. View it here, and keep watching after the presentation for the backstory on this amazing poem.
We may feel separated from each other as far as the four winds. Some may even feel separated from God, but his arms and hands are open to embrace us as we return to Him. I don’t know where you are, but please don’t hesitate to embrace Him today. When we look at Job on Sunday, this is the heart from which the book concludes and we’ll celebrate.
After you watch it the modern adaptation, if you have a more classically poetic mind than myself, here’s Richard Burton’s version of the original poem. I suggest reading it alongside the actual text of the poem.
Looking forward to seeing you again soon – both online and at our Drive-Thru Communion!