I’ve been attending a Sunday morning Bible study on the book of Job. “Why do bad things happen to good people?,” — a question we ask of ourselves. My family knows a Job. I cannot think of one without the other. I’ll just call this person “Job” as I continue to share some of his story.
My mom knew Job when he was much younger and she was his baby sitter. His parents were friends of my grandparents and they attended a Baptist church together. When I was seven to twelve years old, my dad traveled in a Southern Gospel quartet. Job was a young man with a wife and young son – near my sister’s age. Job played guitar in the quartet and his wife had cancer. Throughout her life, there seemed to be no area of her body untouched by the disease. We knew them through rounds of chemo and the blessed remission. During the singing years, there was a long period of remission and they desired to have another child. The doctors strongly discouraged a pregnancy given that Job’s wife had already undergone much fighting off cancer. They prayed and sought God for direction — they moved forward with having another child. She was born beautiful and perfectly healthy – Faith – named for the faith they had in God.
Music ministry thrived as Job would share his testimony of Faith — week to week as we traveled to different churches. God called Job to preach. He was ordained and preached wherever he was invited. He preached revivals. He is the first preacher I heard preach on the crucifixion and he had researched the details — he gave a blow by blow account. It was over twenty years ago and I still remember glimmers of what he said. The day came that he was offered his first job as Pastor. I was just around the age twenty-one and I agreed with my parents to move our membership to Pastor Job’s church. We’d always said we would offer our support. I slid into another job teaching Sunday School to the Juniors — my sister’s class — and Pastor Job’s son.
Things were well for a time until discussions came up regarding Pastor Job’s desire to be full time rather than part time. This coincided with cancer returning to his wife. A small group of people desired to call at all hours and pass around by his house to see how he was spending his time. His wife was sick from chemo and none of them offered concern. Pastor Job would never say anything but my parents found out. It became a dividing line in the church. Pastor Job’s family was unfairly harassed by a small few who didn’t want to vote for a full time salary. None would know that this was the battle with cancer that his wife would not win. Pastor Job was voted out of the church and, within the year, his wife died of cancer. I’ve always known that ‘church people’ can be some of the worst people. One or two sheepishly came to offer apology.
Buried in hospital bills, Job seemingly moved forward for a few years. His will for preaching was damaged. There was still his son and his daughter, Faith. She was seven when her mom died. Faith excelled in school and grew into a beautiful teenager — a high school cheerleader. She began to complain of headaches and her vision was checked. Vision was not the answer and tests continued. My parents were updated on a regular basis and we prayed for Faith. The awful diagnosis came — a brain tumor. Not much hope was offered and it was terminal. It was shared that Job had to tell her it was “okay to go — if you see your mother or your grandmother — it is okay to go with them.” At the funeral, a stream of high school friends processed in to each place a flower — crying. I could barely contain my own sobs. Job got up to speak at the funeral. Job’s Faith — his testimony for so long — was gone. What God once gave has now been taken. Only God knows the “Why?” on everyone’s heart.
Over the years after that, Job was occasionally in touch with my parents — talking about the past — still trying to understand. You don’t know what to say. You don’t understand. You don’t really know how he feels. The call came just within the last couple years — Job died. There were health complications. Maybe the will was gone. Still broken.
Maybe the real Job of this story is the son. The son who would occasionally call my parents and talk about the past — trying to understand what happened at that church — why everyone turned on his family. His family is all gone now. We connect on Facebook like everyone does these days.
He says he can’t complain about life.
He just posted a video of a song that his dad said always reminded him of his mother.