This weekend someone shared this picture on Facebook. The artist is unknown (though if someone does know, please tell me), but it does a fine job of capturing the message of the Book of Job. It is Job in the spotlight suffering as his friends stand comfortably in the shadows trying to theologize his condition. This story remains a powerful metaphor for everything from the errors we make as individuals trying to understand the suffering of others to communities judging other communities without offering a helping hand—many of the responses to Ferguson have been this way where people wax eloquently about why Ferguson has suffered without asking what it is that the rest of the country might do to bring relief to the suffering of communities like Ferguson.
For the longest time God's response to Job at the end of the book was bothersome to me. Annoying. Escapist. It felt like a politician was speaking rather than a Creator. But I've come to see the Book of Job as a far better, truer theodicy than that of most apologists. The Divine Voice doesn't give us the answers we want because the answers we want wouldn't actually explain the complexity of human suffering. There is no skeleton key answer.