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Zamboanga and the Biblical Story of Job


ONE of the best stories in the Bible is about a man named Job.  Job was a very religious man, wealthy, just and fair to all.  One day, the Devil threw a challenge to God.  He said Job was faithful to Him only because He showered him with blessings in life, and that if God withdrew from Job those blessings he will surely curse and abandon his faith in God.  God accepted the challenge.

One by one, God began to afflict Job: his wife and children died, he lost his properties, his body was filled with painful sores, his friends deserted and mocked him.  But despite these calamities, Job’s faith in God remained unshaken and strong, he instead praised and thanked God for his sufferings.

In a real way, the people of Zamboanga are now suffering the same calamities that befell Job, as a result of the MNLF rebels’ attack on their beloved city.

In 09/11/2001, Islamist terrorists killed in one instant more than 3,000 people by crashing two airplanes on the Twin Towers in New York City.  The citizens in the aftermath did not resort to recriminations and hate over the horrific tragedy.  They kept their cool and Christians and Muslims reached out to one another to console and repair the social and physical damage.  Today, New York remains the greatest city on Earth, and is surging forward with multi-billion dollar programs to make the city climate change-proof.

Zamboanga can learn something from the experiences of Job and New York in our desire to overcome and recover from the current crisis and rebuild from the ashes.

May we, then, in Zamboanga remain steadfast and strong like Job in our faith in our respective God, and faith and trust in one another Muslims and Christians alike.  May we not succumb to the temptations of negativism, recriminations and self-pity (which Nietszche said is the worst thing a suffering man can do to his self). Instead, let us reach out to one another, to console and to help to together recover from our wounds and pain and loss. It is the only way to overcome. It is not enough to defeat the rebels militarily, because real victory over them is one that is moral and social, where our unity and institutions and way of life are preserved and our sense of peace and well-being remain vigorous.

How did the story of Job end?  God was very pleased with Job for his faithfulness.  And so He rewarded him with a new family, health and prosperity many times greater than what he had lost.

(Peace Advocates Zamboanga)

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