Jump Start # 2769
Job 2:9 “Then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!’”
This week I have been writing about my dad’s death and funeral. I hope you haven’t been discouraged by my ramblings about death and funerals. We all must go through those things and I hope that somewhere in these thoughts, some hope, help and assurance can be found. Grief is a journey that each person takes in their own way. Some do alright with it. Others don’t do so well.
I remember telling a couple years ago, who had a shaky marriage, after the death of their teenage son, that they would either pull together or pull apart. They chose to pull apart. A death was followed by a divorce.
Our verse today is a similar reminder. We talk about the sufferings of Job, but we forget that Mrs. Job suffered as well, if not more. It was her children that died. She sat watching her husband suffer. It was their livelihood that was turned upside down. Joy to misery. Happiness to defeat. Smiles to sorrows. That’s where we find Mrs. Job. Her advice? Blame God and throw in the towel. Don’t finish the course. Don’t keep the faith. Point your finger to Heaven and roll over and die. Two sentences is all Mrs. Job speaks in this book. Eleven words. She has the fewest words of anyone in this book. She is finished. She is ready to surrender.
Job wouldn’t have any of that. He rebuked his wife. He said she talked like a foolish person, a person having no faith, which probably well described her at that moment. Job did not sin with his lips. Not sure that could be said about his wife.
And, right here, what we learn is that men and women, husbands and wives, deal with suffering and grief in different ways. And, because each is dealing with it or actually, not dealing with it in their own way, spiritual loneliness can fill the heart.
The feeling of spiritual loneliness is found in:
- Prayers that do not seem to be answered
- Worship that seems empty and not helpful
- Feeling burdened and overwhelmed
- Feeling like you are alone, even though you may be surrounded by people
- Feeling like no one else cares or understands
- Feeling that sorrow is about to overcome you
Spiritual loneliness can be one of the great tests of our faith. It can lead us to being angry. Angry with God. Angry with family. Angry with the world. Seeing Job and Mrs. Job not on the same page ought to help us realize that:
First, as we deal with our own sorrow and grief there are others who also need us. Our examples and our faith can do much to help others as they journey though these feelings. Big ones and little ones in a family have lots of questions, sorrow and concerns. People of faith need to be a rock and point to the Scriptures for help and assurance.
Second, be patient. Healing takes time and not everyone is on the same pace as the rest. Some journey through quickly. Others, takes a much longer time. Don’t expect everyone else to be doing fine just because you are. Don’t be upset with others because you are teary and they are not.
Third, pull together and not apart. Talk if the other person feels like talking. Some will want to just look at pictures over and over. Others won’t. What works for one may not work for others.
Fourth, find ways to busy yourself. For me, it’s work. It takes my mind off of things and puts deadlines on the table. Keeping busy works for many of us.
Fifth, keep connected to God. This is true in home as well as in worship. Don’t drop out for a while. You need the Lord. You need encouragement. You need support. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others. Don’t let yourself slip away without doing something. God’s people are there to help you, if you will let them. God’s word is amazing. It will comfort your heart. It will challenge you to get up and get going. It will remind you, teach you and inform you. The more you can pour God’s word into your soul during the journey of grief, the better you will be on the other side.
Finally, someday you will be on the other side of sorrow. Time is a great healer. There is no way to fast forward to that period. You must walk there, day by day. Some days are better than others. A song, a hymn, a movie, is often all it takes for the flood of sorrow to return. Making wise and godly choices helps. But one day, you’ll be able to talk without the tears. One day, fond memories will fill your heart. Like a surgery, there may always be a scar, but the pain fades. And, with your experiences, you will be able to help others on their journey. Could that be one reason we have the book of Job? Death is part of life and understanding that and going through that, we learn much from the book of Job.
I want to think that Mrs. Job changed her tune. I want to believe, because of Job, that she stopped blaming God and counted her blessings. I want to think that by the end of the book, she stood with Job, side by side, in name and in destination, as they helped each other.
I wonder if we talk so much about death that we rarely mention grief. I wonder if we expect people just to know what to do. I wonder if we do not realize how intense the feeling of sorrow or loss is until we have experienced it ourselves. And, maybe, just maybe, through this little series, we will be more sympathetic, kind and patient when others grieve. Maybe we will teach more about finding right ways to grieve. Maybe we will understand shepherding and comforting are valuable essentials to our fellowship together. And, maybe, just maybe, we can keep one of us from standing in the shadows of Mrs. Job and being angry with God.
A few years ago I wrote a thirteen week class book on Job. It wasn’t so much a chapter by chapter study as it was lessons we learn. The book was entitled, “Life Lessons from the book of Job.” It may be a good thing to take a look at having gone through this series this week. If you would like a free printed copy, email me: Rogshouse@aol.com. Be sure to include your mailing address.