Although it does not remove the scars of Job’s suffering – he would always carry the grief of his dead children, and the emotional residue of his sickness and humiliation – his story ends with God restoring him way beyond his original prosperity. It’s important to remember that Job is considered one of the books of Wisdom Literature along with Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs. This means that it wasn’t meant to be a documentary of one person’s life, but a parable of human suffering and restoration. The message, then, is that when the innocent suffer, God will ultimately vindicate, heal and restore them. This is one of the readings for this Sunday. In Mark’s Gospel, as we will see, there is another restoration – that of the blind man, Bartimaeus. It’s good to be reminded that, although we will all endure suffering, God is in the business of restoration. Even when our suffering is the result of our own foolishness or wrong choices, there is always the opportunity to begin again. There is always a second (or third or fourth) chance. There is always the invitation to new life.

What is significant in the restoration passages this week is that God’s restoration is never just an individual thing. It always involves restoration to new relationships – with God, with family and friends, with our community, and even with ourselves. The wonderful gift of this is that, as our relationships are restored, our healing is sustained by a supporting and protective network. But this renewal of relationships also means that when any individual is restored, the healing extends through that person to others.

This week we will explore the amazing, restorative, grace of God.

To download this week’s reflections in PDF format, click here.