Job and the Mystery of Suffering

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Job and the Mystery of Suffering

Job and the Mystery of Suffering

Spiritual Reflections

Richard Rohr plumbs the depths of the Job's story to reveal its relevance for us today. This important book shows how the tension between suffering and faith can be a powerful means to an authentic connection with the divine.

Rohr strips Christian faith down to the essentials, beyond glib answers and a "hand-me-down" experience of God, and points the way to true knowing in this chapter-by-chapter spiritual commentary on the ancient story of Job.



1. A Story of Conversion
It helps to have suffered
Divine grace under pressure
Thorns on the rose
How to handle scripture
Job's new skin
Religion is not enough
Reframing the problem
Jeremiah paving the way
The slow collapse of our logic

2. What to Do about Evil
Good God, bad things
It's not about sin
The fairness factor
Will the real Job? . . .
So who causes evil?
Then there was Satan
The trials of being a bridge
God's role in evil

3. An Eye-Opener on Prayer
With friends like Job's, who needs trouble?
Job tries yelling at God
Worthwhile joy has pain stain
Job's stages of dying
Job feels the heat
The problem of not being God
“Good” advice
Even God not always in charge
Anecdotal theology
Now, don't get mad, Job!
Lord, save us from Job's friends

4. Job and Friends Joust for God
Just so I know you are listening
Suffering is no fun, just ask Job
Happy they who can trust
Orthodox adviser
Faith isn't having answers
Okay, so life isn't fair
And now, some useless common sense

5. Truth Is the Best Ally of God
God as opponent and judge
Seek internal, not just external, authority
Jesus wouldn't make a saint today
Talking to God as an equal
A turning point
We get to heaven on shoulders of others
Job's moods on a yo-yo
Round two
Emphasize the positive
Job has it up to here with his friends
A poor church can read the Gospel

6. Job's Long Leap of Faith
The suffering servant
The leap from despair
Verses 19:25-27
From "avenger" to "redeemer'"
Zophar nails Job for pride and more
The merit/demerit system a flop
In real religion, forget the old logic
Structural sins
Excessive God talk
Reduced to desire

7. Darn It, I'm a Human Being
Tough times for down-and-out
The many faces of poverty
What to do with power?
“Incapacity to feed upon light”
Get the poor out of sight
The many uses of religion
Why couldn't Jesus be rich and dandy?
Let's console ourselves with a hymn
You're human but that's okay
A hymn to wisdom

8. God's Angle on Evil
Job as his own lawyer
Enter Elihu (heroic idealism)
Angels and other messengers
Elihu the teacher
Finally—God speaks up
All God's questions
God boasts about the animals
The importance of otherness
Hippos—and the dinosaur story
Small fry in the galaxies
Job finally feeling good
Truth is more a person than an idea

9. Out of the Shadow of God's Light
Three options on the evil issue
Go easy on the weeds
Sins we turned a blind eye on
Humor is of the essence
The mote is in my eye, Mate
Imperfection is good enough
No dead end
Let love lead us on
Saved by a suffering God

Artist's Interpretation of the Illustrations

Reviews and endorsements

“The author’s spiritual reflections on Job are invigorating and wide-reaching. Rohr comments on the nature of evil, the vocation of being a bridge-builder, the way questions unfold the soul, the church of the future, and the role of the poor in it. The book is a profound resource which will enable you to rediscover the depth charges in this ancient story.”
Values and Visions


“In this study of Job, Rohr, a prolific and masterful writer, calls to each reader to let go of old certitudes and goals, and place faith and trust radically in God alone.”
Spiritual Life


“This book cuts to the core and raises as many questions about the reader’s own faith as Job’s . . . Be prepared to go into the descent, as Job—and Jesus—did. And see what happens.”
Provident Book Finder

Paperback / 192 pages
Dimensions: 5 3/8 x 8 1/4