The selection from the Book of Job is taken from God’s response to the crescendo Job had reached in laying out his case
regarding his disproportionate suffering to the sins of his life. He exclaimed that one day he would be vindicated and that this imbalance would be shown to be true.
Job was exhausted from life and it was in the midst of this wondering about the ways of God that God speaks a reply of questions back to Job. “Who shut within the doors the sea … and fastened the bar of its door, and said: Thus far shall you come but no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stilled!” The answer is, of course, that only God can do this. His ways, powers and understanding are far beyond ours, subtly implying that in the end, who are we to question?
Yet God was not to abandon Job or all of us amidst the waves of suffering in this life. Though the Book of Job was one of the last to be written in the Old Testament, it was not God’s final word on suffering. Rather, God’s final word came in the form of “Himself become man” in Jesus who would walk this road of suffering alongside us and triumph over suffering and death through his own death and resurrection. The Lord who loves us will one day address each and every concern that we have gathered along the roads of this life.
We witness in the Gospel today the disciples moving to a deeper level of trust after witnessing Jesus calling the “proud waves to be stilled,” as only God can do. What a curious eye they must have had on him for the remainder of the night as they finished the crossing of the sea.
Imagine the racing of their thoughts after witnessing such a spectacle. “Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?” Their teacher and friend was before their very eyes revealing himself to be the Lord over creation. Things would never be as they were, “the old things have passed away; behold new things have come.”
We too are continually making this shift in our own lives to an ever deeper trust in the presence of the Lord. We are tossed about by the waves of life, even frightened, but instead of the early cries for deliverance which echo the disciple’s cry, we can come to a point of knowing he is with us, as did St. Therese of Lisieux.
This great doctor of the church had reached the heights of faith at a very young age, trusting that the Lord was in the boat of life with her, and if he chose to sleep amidst the waves, she accepted this with trust. Even the greatest wave of death will not sweep us away into the sea of oblivion. We are assured of reaching “the other side,” for he is with us, and in fact, he himself has already crossed.
Questions for Reflection
1. What are the waves in my life that most unsettle my faith?
2. Can I let the waves rage, trusting that he is with me?
3. Can I leave my questions with God, confident that they will be answered, if need be?
Fr. Vander Steeg is pastor of St. Mary Parish, Greenville, and St. Edward Parish, Mackville.