Isaiah promises that the Messiah to come will come as a suffering servant. This would have been an unexpected and unwelcome announcement by those who desired a warrior-like king to redeem them from their enemies. Yet, as Jesus walked the Emmaus Road with the disciples, he likely not only identified himself as the suffering servant, he probably invited the disciples to consider how they might heed God’s call for the faithful to see themselves as freed from the powers of empires that we all might be servants of the Almighty.
Too often we are expected to follow along without knowing why we are doing what we are doing. Christian practices are no different, like prayer. Prayer isn’t meant to be a last ditch effort to get the Almighty to save us from our human failures. Prayer instead is an ongoing response to our joy in the Lord.
The hope of saying “It’s all in God’s plan” is to offer comfort and solace. It hints that because it’s God’s will, God will help us through it. But ‘Everything Happens for a Reason’ is not a true Christian affirmation.
The story of Job calls us to remember that the darkness that mimics the grave – a place where in we think there is no hope, no life, no light, and no future – is the very place God brings forth new life for all.