Together, we have found a man named Job at the end of his moral and mental sanity.
His stature as the wealthiest, most influential, and most blessed man in the East has been replaced by immeasurable loss, public scorn, and condemnation.
Even his friends accuse him of hiding a secret scandal, that if exposed, would be in proportion to what Job is suffering.
Through it all, Job, while despairing of life, insists that he has done nothing to deserve such suffering. He maintains his integrity even at the expense of God—suggesting that God is not being fair in refusing to confront him face to face.
Finally when Job’s friends have exhausted themselves doing moral math in defense of God, and when Job has said more than he knows about what is right, good, and fair, God speaks out of a violent storm.
With a series of questions about the natural world, the Creator questions Job’s competence to offer a professional opinion about the ethics of Divine fairness. In the process he asks Job to compare what he has done not only with the stars, and cycles of nature, but with a comparison of the hawk, eagle, stork, ostrich, and horse. The questions leave a previously eloquent Job speechless. He cannot deny that all of nature, including the strangely designed Ostrich, rely on their Creator for their life and daily food.
In the presence of such cross examination, Job knows he has met his match, and that he is in no position to continue to question the goodness or fairness of God.
Yet, Job has not yet been told that his troubles can be traced to Satan’s scorn and God’s pleasure in calling Job his friend. The victim doesn’t know he has been given a chance to show that Satan is wrong in declaring that Job serves the King only because he has been bought with material prosperity.
In this story, the ostrich seems to be among the natural evidence we’ve been given that God’s ways can look confusing and contradictory. What else are we to think about this funny shaped, foolish bird, that abandons its children, can’t fly, but can outrun a horse? With all of this we don’t even have to know whether it’s really true that the ostrich hides its head in the sand when it sees trouble coming.
The ostrich in this storyline is “Exhibit O” as evidence of the mysterious ways of God. The problematic good news for Job is that God sees more, knows more, and therefore can answer more than Job can. Job is forced to go to his knees admitting that he is in no position to question the goodness of God by justifying himself at his Creator’s expense.
But now the question– how does the Ostrich and plotline of Job support the bigger storyline of the Bible?
I recently read an article by Mark Galli in Christianity Today online, that I find to be one of the best articles I have ever read about the goodness of God. He maintains that in light of the most troubling questions we can ask about life’s unfairness, we are not left with The Gospel of Job (i.e. that a mysteriously powerful God is wiser and better than we are).
Instead Galli goes on to eloquently and forcefully argue that God has not left us with natural answers to our dreams or our nightmares. Instead he shows that, as the story of the Bible comes to its climax, we find the worst of our questions answered by the God who suffered for us under Pontius Pilate.
Here’s a link to that article which I think you will appreciate, and hope we can talk about: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/april/crucified-under-pilate.html