Trust God: In Loving Memory of Bishop Rueben P. Job, February 7, 1928 — January 3, 2015

February 1st, 2015

Bishop Rueben P. Job helped many of us give ourselves to lives of prayer, which takes us into active engagement with God’s leading, prodding, and sanctifying love. He is coauthor of the A Guide to Prayer books and wrote numerous others, including the widely read Three Simple Rules: A Wesleyan Way of Living.

Bishop Job was eighty-six years old when he passed in early January, and he was graced by God’s mercy, the love of family and friends, and the attentive care of his hospice nurse, who visited regularly to ensure he was as comfortable as possible in his final days on this side of creation.

Rueben awoke each day and welcomed every minute with gratitude to God. He told us repeatedly that he was ready for life, for death, and for life after death—all with equal measure of thanksgiving and unwavering praise.

As husband, father, pastor, publisher, writer, denominational leader, preacher, spiritual guide, and friend, Rueben’s message remained sure and steady over a long and full life. He showed us how to unwrap and open wide our longing for congregations and a worldwide community of faith where our love for God and neighbor are so real, vibrant, and active that every struggle, disappointment, and encounter with injustice and evil can be faced openly, prayerfully, honestly, and with courage and hope that God’s goodness will prevail.

Someone once told me, “Oh, Rueben just wants us all to be nice.” But this person is mistaken. Rueben’s living prayer isn’t for peace—peace where there is no peace. It is for a profoundly authentic faithfulness that is worthy of the name of the one we follow—an attitude of heart, mind, and practice befitting those whom Jesus Christ calls his friends.

Through a lifetime of gratitude and service, Rueben gave his whole heart, mind, and being to showing how trust in God for direction is not a call to “just pray about it.” No, Rueben showed us vividly how to eagerly plunge into radical, risky, and complete trust in God.

Rueben observed that we are prone to depend mostly on our own ingenuity or rhetoric. He confirmed that humans and the church have never been, and will likely never be, perfect. But with a patience mirroring another fellow named Job, he boldly expected our transformation as disciples of Jesus to begin again and again every single day.

Rueben’s outrageous proposal is that disciples of Jesus Christ give first priority to prayer. For prayer to be a priority, he said, and not a sometimes, additive, or tangential activity, we must be willing to give up the deceptive idea that we are strong and wise enough to control our lives without divine intervention. The more we place ourselves in God’s presence, the more we will sense and become like that holy presence and learn to love God with our whole beings.

Bishop Rueben P. Job, our spiritual guide, brother in Christ, teacher, and friend, prayed as he had prayed each and every day for decades that together and with the confidence of children of God we will fully and with resounding joy choose now and in all things to trust God.

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