Claus Westermann called the book of Job a “dramatized lament.” In the psalms we only hear the voice of the lamenter and rarely do we know his situation. In Job we see everything. We see the circumstances in detail. We know the lamenter. We watch his lament develop and unravel. We watch the movement to solution. On one level Job is a lament psalm extended and detailed. It fleshes out the journey of the lament. It is a tortuous but necessary voyage. It’s a road that must be walked if we would ever come to a place of reorientation.
When you read the psalms sometimes it appears like a quick road from lament to praise. At times it looks like the shift occurs in a moment. Job shows us otherwise. The road can be long and grueling. The process is not easy, simple, or quick. At times the darkness will not relent, the questions go unanswered, the confusion prevails, and hope remains in exile. The resolution comes at a tremendous emotional price. There is nothing comfortable about this road.
The resolution is hard won, mainly because it is a gift unattached to our effort. We must journey but ultimately this path is about receiving. Just as God orchestrates the calamity so he must work the restoration. The way of the lament is a path that strips us bare that we may be clothed. Lament earns a man nothing. God owes him nothing when he has voiced his complaint. The answer, though rooted in covenant, is ultimately grounded in grace. God brings solution if, when and how he deems best.