"Job, how is it then that you were restored? You heard the word from without, the word not even addressed to you, that said, 'as my servant Job has.' Then you were required to do something to become reconciled with your friends. They had to offer a sacrifice, to cover over their ignorance and mistakes, and you had to pray for them. I don't know quite what to do with those things, Job, or to assess how important they were to your restoration. But I think they could be listed as the "third thing" that helped you--sit on the ash heap and hear the word from without are the other two.
But I have a question of you, Job, before I even get to the further dynamics of preparation for/realization of restoration. I have been thinking of it for a while, but the full import of it only hit me yesterday. Here it is. Did you need your Redeemer friend (19:25) to be restored? I don't think you did. But, if you didn't, how can that great passage in ch.19 be the basis for Christological speculation when the Redeemer isn't necessary for your OWN restoration?
I guess I just spilled all the beans in those few sentences, but let me tease out the problem a bit more. When you were hostile to God (and did you ever really become "reconciled" to God at the end--or did God just restore you and you didn't budge a psychological inch?), you developed an imaginary companion or two, the witness in heaven and the redeemer/avenger of your life, who would provide your defense and vindication in a trial against God [Oh, I develop the idea of 'imaginary companion' in my book A HARD-FOUGHT HOPE--if I knew your address, Job, I would send you a copy]. They would stand on YOUR side, wouldn't they Job, and help to proclaim to all the world that you, Job, were RIGHT. But, when you give up your quest for being right, don't you also give up your need for the redeemer? Because now you realize that there is no need to be right anymore. The witnesses and defenders were going to contribute to your vindication, but since you don't want or need vindication, why need a redeemer? Or, to put it differently, your "vindication" came from the source that had hurt you, or at least had permitted the hurt to come your way, God. But I wonder something else, Job.
We know it is a truism of human life that it is hard for children (or adults) to accept good things from the hand of someone who has beaten them. That is, the hands that have hurt always have a threatening character to them, even when they are apparently stretched out toward us in understanding and love. For all we know, the "candy" that the hand now offers us might only be an act of deception, an action calculated to encourage us to let down our guard so that the hands can hurt us again. So, you may not need the redeemer anymore, but how to you accept the "gift" of God's words in your direction in 42:7,8? You have given up the need to be vindicated, and so you no longer need a redeemer, but are you ready to receive from the hands of God something that is good? Or, are you so immobilized, so frozen, so utterly devastated within that all you can do is respond to commands ('pray for your friends') and be the passive recipient of the divine blessings and restoration that comes your way?
Thus, my question comes down to this: when you received it all back in 42:10-17, was your mind fried? Were you sort of a babbling idiot, a guy who was just sitting there in the corner, smiling amiably, completely out of it except for the fact that you now had messengers coming to you telling you that you had "won" the big prize every day? Instead of the messengers in ch. 1, who informed you of the terrible things that terrozied you, did you have new messengers come to you and say, "Job, your wife is pregnant again" or "Job, your investment just yielded an incredible return and all those sheep and flocks are now yours again, but doubly so"? Were you an "active" person in the community again, or did you just kind of sit back and receive it all back, with a mind and heart that had been so devastated that you were beyond the ability even of God to be reached again? Did you, in fact, just become sort of a symbol after your restoration, with the "inner self" being as vacant as an abandoned warehouse? Did you become like Nietzsche between his mental breakdown of 1889 until his death in 1900--with no signs of mental functioning but with an ability to keep living, as if going through the motions of life was all he could do? He then became a symbol of something, though I am not sure what--perhaps the way that the tormented mind can actually destroy a person.
Oh, a more modern example. Did you become like John Paul II in his waning years? They dressed him up in those beautiful gowns for public appearances, but he could barely lift a hand sometimes. He became a symbol of determination, a symbol of a person dying with dignity but wanting to fulfill his calling until the end. Is that what happened to you, Job? You had lost all your abilities to do much of anything, but you just were THERE, as a symbol of life after suffering? You terrorized people with your words and judgments in ch.29; who is to say that you didn't continue to terrorize people after your restoration, only for a different reason--that people would look on you and whisper, "Here is the great Job, the one who at one time had it all, and who has been stripped of everything. Look upon him and weep; look upon him and marvel. Here is the example of a human bereft, a human who has experienced suffering to the very limits of endurance. Look on Job and take note. Beware. It could happen to you."
Is that what the crowds were saying, Job? Or, were you, in fact, fully restored, able to kick field goals again, able to walk into the market and order your sauerkraut and hummus with your own voice? I don't know, but I think I need to keep exploring this with you, Job. Thanks for being with me each day. You don't know how much it means to me, Job.