The Suffering of Job
36 x 48
gouache, pastel, and pencil on canvas
Job sits in a pile of ashes at the end of a deserted courtyard, stunned with grief over the unbelievable amount of tragedy that has befallen him. All of his children have suffered fatal injuries in a freak weather event; all of his livelihood has been lost due to a similar streak of catastrophes. Now, even his wife has suggested he curse God and die.
This event is found in the Old Testament Book of Job.
***Spoiler alert: there is a happy ending!
A brilliant Middle Eastern sunrise illuminates a scene of grief and despair. Two marred vessels sit on the ground—righteous Job, and the vase from which he has broken off a piece to scrape the putrid, abscessing boils erupting over his body (perhaps MRSA in an extreme form.)
Job's three friends from neighboring areas arrive to grieve with him over his misfortune and offer him comfort. In the classic style of ancient Hebrew mourning, they tear their garments and cast dirt upon their heads. Throughout Job's entire ordeal, the angel of the Lord watches over him from the sides of the north.
He does not know his severe testing is a response to Satan's challenge to God that given the right conditions, Job will curse God to his face. All he knows is that God is righteous in all His ways, and that he (Job) trusts Him.
This scene is a microcosm of an event full of interesting twists: how the "comforting" evolves into a verbal sparring match, the fiery young sympathizer who arrives after the first three, and ultimately what happens when God himself enters the discourse.
!! ARTIST OBSERVATION !!
Never assume that because someone is suffering loss, illness, or rejection from society that they must have sinned.
We cannot see what is going on behind the scenes in the spiritual realm. In the case of Job, God described him as a righteous man who avoided evil, and said "there was none like him in the earth."