This eternal fountain is hidden deep, Well l know where it has its spring, Though it is night! (St. John of the Cross)

My friend Nancy Beach once taught a series on spiritual life in which she compared our varying experiences of God’s presence to the seasons of the year. She gave eloquent descriptions of the beauty and wonder of spring, summer, and fall. When it came to the topic of the soul in winter, however, she asked me to take her place. So I thought I would start this chapter with words I associate with winter.

Death. Ice. Hypothermia. Windchill.

Snow. Shoveling snow. Shoveling more snow. Buying a snowblower.

Salt trucks. Black ice. Dead batteries. Frostbite. Gangrene. Thermal underwear. My wife wearing long thermal underwear for months at a time.

Ice fishing. Diminished mental capacity.

Seasonal affective disorder. Happy days for electrical utility companies.

Recreational eating. Death.

I don’t like winter.

I know there are people in the world who claim to love winter. But it always makes me wonder: How many people spend their working careers in Florida, then retire and move to Minot, North Dakota?

I have heard people say, “But God made winter — it must be good.”

There is no mention of winter in the Bible before the Fall. In Genesis we read about trees bursting with fruit and rivers flowing with water and people who didn’t even need clothes. Wherever the Garden of Eden was, it clearly was not Milwaukee in January.

The Bible tells us that winter came because someone once did something very, very bad. People have been paying for it ever since. I speak from experience. I lived for a decade in Chicago, which was founded when a group of people from NewYork said, “The crime and the poverty are good, but we’d like it colder.”

A Wintry Spirituality

Regardless of what you may feel about the meteorological season, I want us to think about a kind of winter of the soul. Spiritual winter.

You may be able to relocate to some part of the world where you can avoid cold weather, but there is no place you can move to escape spiritual winter. Theologian Martin E. Marty wrote a book of reflections about the terminal illness and loss of his beloved wife. He said one of the resources human beings need is what he calls “a wintry spirituality” for times when the warmth and joy is taken away from us and a sunny disposition is not enough to bring them back. We need a way of holding on to God when it feels as if God has let go of us.

Winter may come when someone has lost a job or experienced vocational failure. They feel a deep sense of sadness, even shame. They are not sure, without this job, who they are anymore.

Winter may arrive the day the word comes back from the doctor’s lab that the test was positive. All the dreams you took for granted — that you will watch your kids grow up and get married, that you will grow old with your spouse and die when you’re good and ready — suddenly torture you with the thought that you won’t be there to see them fulfilled.

Maybe winter comes when you feel as if you have failed as a parent. Or it arrives the day someone you loved with your whole heart has died. You prayed so hard, you hoped so much, you don’t understand.

Any of these events may chill the soul. Any of them may announce the onset of winter. But they are not its worst feature. The hardest part of winter is that God seems gone.

I cry to you for help, O LORD;

in the morning my prayer comes before you.

Why, O LORD, do you reject me

and hide your face from me?

It is the aversion of God’s face, what feels like his absence, that is the psalmist’s greatest pain. C.S. Lewis wrote after the death of his wife, “Where is God? . . . Go to Him when your need is desperate, when all other help is vain, and what do you find? A door slammed in your face, and a sound of bolting and double bolting on the inside. After that, silence.”

This is hardest part of winter of the soul. It’s not just this or that bad event.

We can’t find God. He doesn’t answer. “Why do you reject me? Why do you hide your face?”

Job and the Absence of God

Certain books of the Bible — Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, and many of the psalms — are wintry books. But in all human history, no one has embodied winter more than a man named Job. In his book we come to the page where Waldo is hardest to find.

The story begins, “In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job.” The reader has to try to figure out where Uz was. The directions are deliberately vague: “He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.” The writer’s point is that Job is not a part of Israel. You could put the setting like this: “A long time ago, in a place far, far away . . .

The problems in this book are the problems of the human race. All of us will wrestle at some time with the absence of God. In the beginning everything is as we think it should be. Job is “blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” He is so cautious he even offers daily sacrifices for his children — “just in case,” he thinks. Maybe they sinned. Maybe God is easily offended.

God gives him a wonderful life. The amount of blessing he experiences is directly proportional to the amount of obedience he offers.

But winter is coming to Uz. Uz will be a place where very bad things happen to a very good man. Uz will be a place, not just where suffering comes, but where it comes without warning and without explanation, creating confusion and despair.

Then suddenly in the story there’s a radical shift in scenery. There is a dispute between Satan and God, and Satan is allowed to wreak havoc on Job’s life. Philip Yancey notes that the writer sets up this book like a play, but the action is going on in two locations. Picture a theater with two stages; a lower stage and an upper stage.

This is crucial to the story: We know what is going on in both settings, but the characters on earth do not. All they can see is what’s happening on earth. All Job knows is that he has lost his livestock, his wealth, his servants, and his children. We wait to see his response.

He grieves. He worships. He falls to the ground. He cries, “May the name of the LORD be praised.” In all this, he “did not sin.” We switch back to the upper stage for one more brief conversation. At first glance, the action in heaven looks very strange. It looks like a cosmic wager between God and Satan, where God uses Job and his family as pawns to win a bet. But it’s not.

The key question on the upper stage — in fact, the key question to the whole book — comes when Satan asks, “Does Job fear God for nothing?”

In other words, Satan is saying, “Job is devoted to you and worships you because it is in his self-interest. Quid pro quo.” Satan is charging God with being naive. “You think Job loves you. The truth is, he loves you the way children love the ice cream man; the way aging actresses love Botox. Turn off the faucet of blessing and watch how fast he turns off the faucet of devotion.”

The question is, can a human being hold on to God in the face of suffering? After all, suffering is the test of love. So Job gets hit with a second wave of trouble. This time there are some subtle differences in his response. He does not fall to the ground in worship. He does not say, “The name of the LORD be praised.”

He goes to sit on an ash heap at the town dump. Maybe it is an act of grieving. Maybe he is being isolated because his skin condition — part of his suffering — could be leprosy.

Job’s wife says, “Curse God and die!” This cannot be encouraging to Job. This does not sound like Dale Carnegie. But Job’s wife, too, has lost all she had, including her children. She will now have to care for a horribly diseased husband until he dies, then she will be left alone and destitute. She gives voice to thoughts that have surely occurred to Job.

Job doesn’t curse God. But notice what he says: “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” He is struggling to understand God now. Is God the kind of person who sends evil? Is God really good?

The writer says, “in all this, Job did not sin in what he said.” After the first wave, the text simply says, “in all this Job did not sin.”

So now there is a little qualification. “Job did not sin in what he said. ” In his heart, Job has begun to struggle.

Friends in Winter

Then Job’s friends hear about all the troubles that have come upon him — Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, Zophar the Naamathite. (Not mentioned is Dadgum the termite.) These friends meet together to go and sympathize with Job and give him comfort.

Job used to be famous for his wealth and greatness. Now he’s famous for his problems and suffering. These friends are going to “sympathize with him . . .” The Hebrew verb nud refers to body movement — shaking back and forth, nodding the head. We see this sometimes when people experience trauma and go into shock, rocking themselves back and forth like a mother with a baby.

The friends’ love is so strong, their grief is so great, that they plan to sit next to him and take on his anguish. “When they saw him … they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads.” They had heard it was bad, but nothing prepared them for this. Usually when you visit someone in bad condition, you try to cheer them up and tell them it’s not so bad. Have you ever been so sick that when someone came to visit, they took one look at you and burst into tears? There’s no use pretending.

The story continues: “Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.”

It is worth pausing here for a moment. Imagine sitting with someone in silence for seven days. This was such a powerful act that it became part of Jewish life;

To this day the Jews will speak of sitting shiva — literally “sitting sevens.” Friends will come and sit with one who mourns over a period of a week.

This incident with Job is perhaps the greatest example in Scripture of what Paul commands in Romans: “Mourn with those who mourn.”

He doesn’t say, “Find an explanation to give them about why they’re suffering” or “Remind them everything is going to be okay, so they can stop crying now.”

It is worth noting that after the seven days are over, Job’s friends will speak — a lot. They will get into trouble for what they say. As with his wife, Job’s friends have taken a lot of heat over the years, and for good reasons. Their words are not so hot.

But their silence was brilliant. Their silence was a gift. Maybe the best way to mediate God’s presence to someone who is suffering is to sit with them in silence.

Finally, after seven days, Job speaks. We wait to hear what he’ll say. If he can just repeat what he says in chapter 1 — “God gives, God takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord” — the test will be over. It will be a short book.

“After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth.”

This is the kind of thing that keeps Job off the motivational speaker circuit. I can guarantee you that Anthony Robbins or Charlie “Tremendous” Jones never say, “When your life is hard and torn, just curse the day when you were born.”

Job goes on to request that that particular day be removed from the calendar. He requests “May those who curse days curse that day.” (He doesn’t tell us who “those who curse days” are; it seems like a limited profession.) For the next twenty-eight chapters Job pours out a level of bitterness, confusion, sorrow, and anger toward God that is staggering. He wants to know why God has forsaken him.

This is so raw that his friends can’t stand it.

The Doctrine of Retribution

Job’s friends spend twenty-two chapters voicing one central idea that was actually the primary theology of their day. It was written about in Mesopotamian wisdom literature. It is sometimes called “the doctrine of retribution.” The idea is that goodness results in prosperity and blessing, wickedness results in suffering. Ironically, in their silence these friends drew Job closer to God. When they spoke, they pushed him away:

So Job, if you’re suffering badly — you must have brought it on yourself. If you’re no longer close to God-who do you think moved? If you will repent, he will deliver you from suffering.

Philip Yancey notes that the arguments voiced by Job’s friends are being repeated in Christian churches today. Suffering people have told Yancey that those who make their suffering worse are Christians:

• “The reason you’re in the hospital is spiritual warfare. If you were just engaging in spiritual warfare, Satan would be defeated and you’d be delivered.”

• “God promises to heal — if we have enough faith. If you just had enough faith — just prayed boldly enough — you’d be healed.”

We generally associate well-being with the presence of God and assume that suffering means someone has done something wrong. No one writes a book called Where Is God When It Feels Good? No one wins the lottery and cries out, “Why me, God?” And of course, it is true that pain was not part of God’s original plan, and the day is coming when he will wipe every tear from every eye.

And yet . . .

While God hates pain, he can also redeem it. It does not mean he is absent. Years ago I helped conduct a survey that asked thousands of people what had most contributed to their spiritual growth. The number one answer was pain.

In summer I am tempted to think that because of my success, wealth, reputation, virtue, faith, I’m in control. My life will unfold how and when I want it to. In winter I learn I’m not running things after all. Somebody once said that the biggest difference between you and God is that God doesn’t think he’s you. In pain, we get very clear about not being God.

Of course, this doesn’t mean we can go up to someone in enormous pain and say, “Well, this is good news because you’re going to grow a lot!” Pain is deeper and more mysterious than that.

Mini-Pain

One thing we can do is practice God’s presence in moments of “mini-pain.” Suppose I’m frustrated at standing in line at a 7Eleven store. That’s maybe a “one” on a pain scale of a thousand, but I can, in a sense, use it as a tool. I can ask God to be present with me in my frustration at having to wait. I can look for him in the presence of the clerk behind the counter who doesn’t speak English very well. The practice of walking with God in mini-pain can serve people well when larger pain comes.

Almost six years ago I had the most painful year of my life (so far) when, for a variety of reasons, long-rooted patterns of living for other peoples’ approval and applause came to the surface. The emptiness and hollowness of this life was so raw for me that every morning I woke up with a ball of pain in my stomach. I began to write to it in my journal each day: “Good morning, ball of pain, I wish you would go away . . .” Even though I have a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, I had never wanted to go through receiving counseling myself. I was the help-er, not the helpee. Pain changed all that. Now I ran for help.

Over time, although I never wanted to feel pain, I came to see that it was doing much good in me. I became much more aware of how everything meaningful in life rides on God. I became much more dependent on him. When people who knew me well would pause to lay hands on me and pray for me, it was like receiving life. Certain temptations involving success and achievement became much less seductive; spiritual reality got clearer.

The ball of pain gradually got smaller. It still revisits me from time to time. I never want it. But in a strange way I realize that it brings gifts from God that nothing else does.

I know, of course, that countless people have suffered infinitely more pain than I. And I don’t believe God is the kind of person who delights in inflicting painful little moral object lessons on helpless mortals. But in my own life, at least, there is this strange duality about pain. It can cause me to wonder where God is, as nothing else can. And it can open me up to my dependence on his presence as nothing else can.

The Gift of Complaining

Job spends most of the book complaining to God. In the wintry books of the Bible, mostly people complain. There is a fascinating paradox in the book of Psalms. The Hebrew name for the psalms was tehillim — “praises.”

Scholars sort out the psalms in different categories: psalms of thanksgiving; wisdom psalms, enthronement psalms. But by far the most common kind of psalm is called the lament — or complaint.

You gave us up to be devoured like sheep and have scattered us among the nations.

You sold your people for a pittance, gaining nothing from their sale . . .

All this happened to us, though we had not forgotten you or been false to your covenant . . .

Israelites devoted more psalms to complaining than any other single category. This may be good news for you. Maybe you already know how to complain or would be willing to learn. Maybe complaining is your spiritual gift.

Old Testament scholar Ellen Davis has written that in the ancient world these complaint prayers are without parallel in other religions. In no other culture did people pray to their god in language that was so frank and even rude:

You crushed us and made us a haunt for jackals . . .

Awake, O Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever.

Why do you hide your face and forget our misery and oppression? . . .

How long, O LORD, how long?

People of other ancient religions prayed. They made requests, offered worship, even cursed their enemies. Only Israel, in all the ancient world, prayed this kind of complaint prayers.

For good reason, because only Israel in all the ancient world believed that the great God who made the heavens and the earth cares that we are in pain and he can be expected to do something about it.

This is what makes these prayers so powerful — and an important part of our spiritual life. When we are passionately honest with God, when we are not indulging in self-pity or martyrdom but are genuinely opening ourselves up to God, when we complain in hope that God can still be trusted — then we are asking God to create the kind of condition in our heart that will make resting in his presence possible again. And God will come. But he may come in unexpected ways.

Lewis Smedes was a teacher of mine in seminary, one of the best writers and preachers I have ever known. Even though he was brilliant and accomplished and devoted to God, he suffered from a sense of inadequacy that at times grew into deep depression. At one point in his life he stopped preaching because he felt unqualified. God came to him through two avenues. One was a three-week experience of utter solitude, where he heard God promise to hold him up so vividly that, as he put it, he felt lifted from a black pit straight up into joy. The other avenue he describes this way:

I have not been neurotically depressed since that day, though I must, to be honest, tell you that God also comes to me each morning and offers me a 20 milligram capsule of Prozac. He clears the garbage that accumulates in the canals of my brain overnight and gives me a chance to get a fresh morning start. I swallow every capsule with gratitude to God.

I love the picture Lew paints. I used to think that taking Prozac would be a sign of weak faith in God. But what if Prozac might be, not a substitute for God, but his gift? What if refusing might be spurning his hand because of pride? Maybe God is present in wise doctors and medication that makes synapses and neurotransmitters work right. Maybe weakness is really refusing-out of our own blindness and stubbornness-the help that God is offering.

The Kind of Person God Is

Job is quite convinced that God has left him, and he complains that what he really wants is a chance to square off with God mano-a-Dins.

“If only I knew where to find him; if only I could go to his dwelling!

I would state my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments.”

Be careful what you ask for. . . .

Toward the end of his story, Job gets his wish: “Then the Lore answered Job out of the storm.”

What do you think that moment was like?

One of the most striking features of God’s rebuttal in the book is that when he appears, he doesn’t seem to get around to answering Job’s question of why! He doesn’t tell Job what the writer tells us — about the upper stage scenes of chapters 1-2.

God just asks him a bunch of questions Job can’t answer. Why does God do this? At first glance it almost looks mean. And certainly part of what’s happening is that God is pointing out Job has a finite mind and a limited point of view.

But there’s something more. Ellen Davis writes that God’s questions are indicating something about the kind of person he is. They are filled with references to God’s extravagant goodness and provision even though there is no “strategic gain” in it at all.

“Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain . . .

to water a land where no man lives, a desert with no one in it,

to satisfy a desolate wasteland and make it sprout with grass?”

These lines would jump out at the reader in Job’s day. Life in Israel depended on rainfall. They would never waste water. So why would God water “a land where no one lives”?

Because God is a God of gratuitous goodness. And he is uncontrollably generous. He is irrationally loving. He is good for no reason at all. He is good just because he loves to give. He sends streams of living water flowing out of sheer exuberant generosity. There is a wilderness where no one lives, yet it is full of beauty and grace because God makes a river run through it.

God delights in animals that are of no apparent use at all. The ostrich looks goofy and flaps her wings “joyfully” as if they could get her somewhere. She lays eggs and can’t even remember where she left the babies. She doesn’t seem to be worth much of an investment. But when she runs — oh my! “She laughs at horse and rider.” Why would God waste such talent?

“I made the behemoth,” God says — probably the hippopotamus. The creature is of no particular use: “Can anyone capture him when he is on the watch, With barbs can anyone pierce his nose?” The ancient world considered the hippo a chaotic monster that had to be destroyed — but not God. “He ranks first among the works of God.” It’s as if God is saying, “Best thing I ever did. I had my ‘A’ game going the day I made the behemoth.”

God takes pleasure in wild oxen that will never plow; the wild donkey that will never be tamed; mountain goats that give birth in secret places man will never see; the leviathan that no one can catch. “Nothing on earth is his equal.”

God creates, cares for, gives to, and delights in animals that don’t appear to be good for anything. Why should God love a world like that? Anne Dillard writes, “Because the creator loves pizzazz.” He revels in the beauty of the least strategic creature. What God is really telling Job is, “I’m worth it. Life, following me-it’s all worth it. Don’t give up. This pain is not going to last forever. I am the kind of God who is worth getting close to.”

That is because God is gratuitously good — and uncontrollably generous — and irrationally loving. He just gives for no reason at all. It’s his nature.

“God loves pizzazz.” Maybe that’s why we’re here.

Made to Charm Him

My favorite author writes,

And when I begin to think about God’s wild extravagance, his wastefulness, his passion for the unnecessary and the excessive and the completely useless, I am struck by a thought so wonderfully freeing I can do nothing but laugh. What if that extravagance extends to me? I am not a soldier for God, or a valued servant in the kingdom. I am a jester! I am the celestial equivalent of a peacock — a tiara — a talking doll. We were not made to serve God. We were made to charm him.

Job never does find out about the conversation in heaven. In that sense, his story is our story. On this earth we live on the lower stage. Winter comes, and we don’t know why.

But Job finds out about something better. He finds out who God is.

“My ears had heard of you

but now my eyes have seen you.” That’s enough.

God knows. God cares.

When God himself came to the earth, he came in winter. Jesus, like Job, was known as a “man of sorrows.” He was acquainted with grief.

Where was God? He was on the ash heap. He, like Job, was so torn by suffering that no one recognized him: “We considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.” He himself would go through the winter of the absence of God: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

On the cross is the ultimate paradox: God experiencing the absence of God so that he can draw close to us in our loss and grief and even in our God-forsakeness.

Nicholas Wolterstorffwrote a book called Lament for a Son when he entered into winter after his son died in a an accident while mountain climbing. Woltersdorff writes of how we are told that no one can see the face of God and live. “I always thought that meant no one can see God’s glory and live. A friend suggested that perhaps it means no one can see God’s suffering and live. Or perhaps his suffering is his glory.”

Never did we see his glory more clearly than when he was on the cross, taking our God-forsakeness on himself. Karl Barth wrote of the great miracle that God would rather be the suffering God of a suffering people than the blest God of an unblest people.

If it is winter in your life, and you wonder where God is, you don’t have to wonder anymore. He is the God of the ash heap. Jesus was, in a sense, never closer to us than when he was farthest from the Father. Perhaps his suffering is his glory.

The Glory of Maybelline

Most of the last chapter in the book of Job is an epilogue. God tells Job’s comforters, “I am angry with you … because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.”

(Imagine their amazement: Job complains about God, they stick up for God, they know they’re right; then God shows up and says, “No, Job was right.”)

God says that if Job will pray for them, he will forgive them. We can guess that Job and his friends had a very interesting conversation. He prays. God forgives.

Then, in the final words the writer tells something we would tend to miss even though ancient readers would catch it. He tells us that Job had more children, then he gives names of Job’s daughters, but not of his sons. In Hebrew genealogies that was unprecedented and unheard of. What’s more, they are strange names. The subject of names in the Bible is worth a book on its own; they are vital expressions of human character and divine intent.

Usually Hebrew names are very serious; they express a character virtue or theological truth. But the names of Job’s daughters are all about beauty. Jemima means “dove,” considered a particularly lovely bird. The second daughter is named Keziah, which means “cinnamon,” a prized spice. But the clincher is daughter number three: Keren-happuch, which means “horn of eye-shadow.” Job named her after makeup. It’s as if you named your daughter Estee Lauder or Maybelline.

Not only that, but Job gives them an inheritance. In the ancient, male-dominated world, a father with seven sons would never dream of leaving anything to a daughter. There might not be enough left over.

Sons were strategic. Sons were obligated to care for parents in their old age. Daughters were not strategic. Money that went to daughters would be used to care for their husbands’ fathers; it was like putting money in somebody else’s pension fund.

So why does the writer include this part of the story? Because now Job delights in and gives to the least strategic creatures. Now he is gratuitously good. He is uncontrollably generous. He is irrationally loving. He gives for no reason at all. Does this remind you of anybody?

Satan was dead wrong about old Job. The central question in Job is, can a human being hold on to God and faith and love even in the dead of winter?

One can. One did.

Job could not see the upper stage. Job did not know that his faithfulness had meaning beyond his wildest dreams. He did not know that something cosmic and eternal was at stake in his transitory life.

Sitting on an ash heap; scraping boils off his skin with shards of broken and discarded pots; feeling broken, sick, mocked, confused, and hopeless — Job discovered what people in pain sometimes learn better than anyone else. He was not alone after all. Not even in winter.

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From God is Closer Than You Think by John Ortberg. Copyright ©2005 by John Ortberg. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishers.

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John Ortberg is Teaching Pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, CA.

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Sources

St. John of the Cross: “Song of the Soul that delights in knowing God by faith,” from St. John of the Cross: Alchemist of the Soul: His Life, His Poetry, His Prose. Edited by Antonia T De Nicholas. York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser, 1989, 131.
Martin E. Marty, A Cry ofAbsence: Reflections for the Winter of the Heart. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1983.
” I cry to you for help”: Psalm 88:13-14 NIV
C. S. Lewis, A Grief Observed. NewYork: Bantam Books, 1976, 4.
“In the land of Uz” : Job 1:1 NIV Subsequent quotations of Scripture in this section, apart from paraphrases, are from Job 1-3 N IV
Philip Yancey, The Bible Jesus Read. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999, 49-50.
“Mourn with those”: Romans 12:15 TNIV
Yancey, The Bible Jesus Read, chapter 2.
Where Is God When: A play on Philip Yancey, Where Is God When It Hurts? Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1977.
He will wipe every tear: See Revelation 7:17; 21:4.
“You gave us up”: Psalm 44:11-12, 17 NIV
Ellen Davis, Getting Involved with God: Rediscovering the Old Testament. Boston: Cowley Publications, 2001, chap. 10.
“You crushed us”: Psalms 44:19, 23-24; 6:3 NIV
Lewis Smedes, My God and I. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003, 133.
“If only I knew”: Job 23:3-4.
“Then the LORD answered”: Job 38:1 NIV
Davis, Getting Involved with God, chap. 10.
“Who cuts a channel”: Job 38:25-27 NIV
‘A land where no one lives”: Job 38:26 NRSV
Ostrich: Job 39:13, 18 NIV
Hippopotamus: See Job 40:15-24, quotations from NIV, NASB, and paraphrase.
Wild oxen: Job 39:9-12
Wild donkey: Job 39:5-8.
Mountain goats: Job 39:1-4.
Leviathan: Job 41:33 NIV
Annie Dillard: From Pilgrim at Tinker Creek in Three by Annie Dillard: The Writing Life, An American Childhood, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. NewYork: HarperCollins, 1990, 135.
‘And when I begin”: Mallory Ortberg, unpublished manuscript.
“My ears had heard”: Job 42:5 NIV
“Man of sorrows”: Isaiah 53:3, various versions of the Bible.
“We considered him”: Isaiah 53:4 NIV
“My God, my God”: Matthew 27:46, various versions of the Bible
Nicholas Woltersdorff Lament for a Son. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987, 61.
Karl Barth: Quoted in a taped lecture by Nicholas Woltersdorff, n.d.
“I am angry”: Job 42:7 NIV
Names in the Bible: See, for example, Herbert Lockyer, All the Men of the Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1958; and Herbert Lockyer, All the Women of the Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1967.

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