My daughter’s friend Aimee has undergone multiple eye surgeries to try to save her vision.  She has diabetes (as do I) and loss of sight is one of the complications that can result.  Aimee is about twenty five, and was married earlier this year.  And I found out today that a blood vessel in her good eye ruptured.  I hear she’s looking at surgery the day after Christmas.  And I hear she’s feeling like Job.  Which I understand.

Aimee is a devout Christian, from another tradition.  She goes to church on Sundays and takes her faith quite seriously during the week.  It has real impact on the way she lives her life.  Why is this happening to her?

It isn’t because she’s a bad person.  I hope no one around her is suggesting it is.  What happened to Job, supposedly, happened because of a bet between God and the devil.  God held up Job as the shining example of a righteous human being.  The devil thought things would be different if God didn’t keep blessing him so greatly.  So he bet God that Job would turn away from God if he lost the many blessings God had given him.

That’s a stinking reason to destroy someone’s life.  I take comfort in the fact that I read it as a work of fiction, written to make a point and teach a lesson, not as something God actually did to someone.  And a lot of the lesson revolves around Job’s “friends.”  They all think the only reason this is happening to Job is because he’s trying to hide some secret sin.  And they get on his case big time, telling him if only he’d put his relationship with God right, nothing but blessings would ever come his way.  Talk about blaming the victim!

But it’s cold comfort to tell Aimee this isn’t her fault.  This didn’t happen to her because she somehow failed her God.  I’m reminded of a story about Theresa of Avila.  One day, they say, she ended up falling into a stream for some reason.  I’m thinking she fell off a donkey, but I’ve heard different versions of the story.  Anyway, she picked herself up and shook her fist at God and said, “If this is how you treat your friends, it’s no wonder you have so few!”  Job shook his fist at God too — at least figuratively.  And Aimee has every right to shake her fist at God too.  There are some great psalms that could model this for her.

The fact is that there are many great blessings in Aimee’s life.  A wonderful husband.  Great family and friends.  A new house.  And above all, a solid relationship with her God.  None of this in any way justifies what has happened to her.  But I do believe one thing:  God is walking this path with her.  God has not abandoned her.  She is not alone.

That’s something, at least, in times like this.

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