Developing a Witness of Faithful Presence
By Christopher Benson, Professor of English, Faculty Coordinator of Humanities & Fine Arts, The Cambridge School of Dallas
In my 12th grade literature class last week, I compared the wager scene in Goethe’s drama, Faust, to the wager scene in the Book of Job, chapters 1-2. Once the Lord has removed the “hedge” of protection around Job’s possessions, which involves, among other things, “a great wind” (read: tornado) that killed his own children, he responds in four ways that are instructive to how we may respond to our own dispossession:
- Lament: “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head…” (1:20)
- Trust: “…and fell on the ground and worshiped.” (1:20).
- Truth-telling: “And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away…” (1:21).
- Praise: “…blessed be the name of the Lord” (1:21).
Job’s truth-telling challenges me. We accept that the Lord has given to The Cambridge School of Dallas (CSD). Do we also accept that he has taken away from CSD for reasons currently hidden to us, which may be revealed in the days ahead? Job emphasizes that God is right to do both the giving and the taking.
When the second “hedge” of protection is removed around Job and Satan afflicts his physical well-being, he responds with even more truth-telling that challenges me. Speaking to his wife, he asks a rhetorical question: “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” (2:10). While God is not the author of evil, he does permit it — and we may never know why. Consistent with our fallen human nature and an affluent society that seeks comfort and convenience above all things, we eagerly receive the good but take it for granted. How do we, like Job, learn how to also receive evil—and not begrudgingly? Only through the indwelling presence of the Lord. Such a response is supernatural. Therefore, let us beg for Job’s faith.
In the coming days, CSD has an opportunity in this challenge: to develop a witness of faithful presence, lamenting the loss of our facility, trusting in the goodness of God, telling the truth about what is “really real,” and praising God.