Sunday, July 3, 2022
Today’s is a devotion I wish someone else was writing. It is over a chapter that is too dark, too deep, too depressing.
That is the start of the first devotion I wrote on Job 3. The one I spent a couple hours writing this morning before my computer ate the rest of it. So, now I get to write a second one. Maybe God has more to teach me about Job 3. Dear God, help me learn what you want me to learn – and put it into action.
I loved Hannah Deane’s devotions on Job 1 & 2 (as well as the rest of her devotions this past week on 2 Corinthians). If you missed them, I encourage you to go back and read them. Yesterday she pointed out that in chapter 2, Job’s grieving wife who had also lost so much, encouraged Job to just curse God and die. One can only endure so much, right? When is it time to give up on God? Job’s wife thought Job should be there already. But good old Job called it foolish talk. If you accept good from God, be prepared to accept some trouble, too, he said. Then his friends came and sat with him in silence for 7 days.
In chapter 3, Job speaks. And, it is difficult to listen to. Is he finally ready to curse God and die, as his wife had counseled him? No – not exactly. But there is no denying the pain and agony he is in. Rather than cursing God though, he curses the day he was born.
I have no recollection of the day I was born, but I have some pretty fond memories of the three days my children were born and put into my waiting arms. And it breaks my heart that one would become so depressed and despondent that they would wish their day of birth had never been. I have never been at this dark point Job was.
I also can’t help but think of the pro-abortion claims that for a certain amount of hardship (financial, physical, relational, or emotional), it would be better for a child to never have the chance at life. If we only had this ONE single chapter of Job to consider, it might seem that Job would agree.
It can not be denied. Hardships and loss come with life. No life has been lived without, no matter how spectacular the parents or timing or circumstances or inception. Hardship began with the serpent in the garden. And it will continue until the new heaven and new earth comes in the clouds, and God will live with His people and will wipe every tear from their eye and there will be no more mourning or crying or pain or death. (Revelation 21:1-4). What a beautiful hope for the future. But, we aren’t there yet. So, we must be prepared in this life for some trouble ourselves. And, we must consider how we can encourage, comfort and sit with those in deep pain and agony. And, while we are at it – how can we speak with compassion and wisdom to the would-be mom who is scared of the loss in her own life as well as the amount of hardship that a baby would meet in life? Job knows what it is like to be overcome by grief and raw emotion – for a time. That is where he is in Job 3, though he does not take his own life or the life of another.
Job doesn’t end with chapter 3. He has many more chapters of grief, sorrow and questioning God. There is not a quick and easy answer for pain. He will hear many half-truths from his friends who have a distorted view of God and His justice. And, then, he will get the opportunity to hear from God Himself. And, of course there are the blessings that Job receives in the end. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough days in the year to read each chapter one by one. In this year’s reading plan we will include just one more day tomorrow for Job before moving along to Psalms. But I encourage you to take some more time digging into Job. While Job continues to question God in his grief, he never gives up on God. I think we would do well to realize we don’t have to understand God in order to continue to trust Him.
Questions for Reflection and Discussion
- We are often uncomfortable with people who are in deep pain and agony. It can be difficult to be around people who are cursing the day they were born (at least for me). How can we bring comfort and wisdom to their deep hurt?
- What advice and counsel do you think Job of Job chapter 38-42 would give to Job of Job chapter 3? What might he say to the man in despair contemplating taking his own life, or the woman considering an abortion?
- How can you trust God even when you don’t understand Him?