Message to Job's wife: I get it!
Job's wife. she has been on my mind lately. The only thing the Bible shares about her are those horrible words she spits out in anger: "Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!" Job 2:9
Commentators call her "satan's accomplice, or the devil's instrument" the helper of satan to accomplish his plan in pushing Job over the edge and, in the end, curse God. She certainly wasn't popular in my book. When I first read her statement, I thought to myself, what a weak woman! Many would say she really didn't have a true relationship with God as Job did, that is why it was so easy for her to hurl out those dark words.
Even though the book of Job is all about Job, we shouldn't forget that he had a wife who also experienced the tragedies and great loss. The Bible says that Job was very rich. She was accustomed to a certain way of life. She was probably adorned in the most beautiful clothes and she probably spent her time in a beautiful house, decorated so that it should have been published in the latest decor magazine. Of course with riches, there is an abundance of family and friends, surrounding and celebrating their prosperity with this influential couple. Not to mention, ten beautiful children, she gave birth ten times, nursing, held, comforted, guided, fed, cleaned up after, kissed boo boos, scolded and disciplined ten times! Than, one bad day, all of this is gone, poof, vanished! Everything, including her ten children gone! Just a few sad servants left to deliver the news of destruction and death.
Again, we don't know much about Job's wife; except by how Job responds after his wife spoke those very ungodly words. "He replied, 'You are talking like a foolish woman'." Let's stop right here. Job never said she was a foolish woman, he said she was talking like a foolish woman, which she wasn't. So it is safe to say that prior to this tragedy, she had a reputation of being the opposite of foolish which would be sensible, or maybe even wise. So what happened? What caused her to confess such harsh, foolish words? One word: Pain. She was in pain, she was grieving, she was confused and yes, she was angry. Painful circumstances have the power to change us, to steal from us, to reveal the deepest, darkest side of us. As I go through this long term, painful season, I am seeing sides to myself that I would have rather it remained hidden, or not existed at all. At least with short term painful circumstances there is eventually an end, closure, healing and the strength to move on; however, for those of us who are in a long term trial that just keeps on giving Monday through Friday, day and night, no end, no rest, no closure; it can really bring out the worst in us. The discouragement mixed with exhaustion, mixed with frustration, topped with never-ending to-do lists, can lead to things said and done that one would deeply regret later on. This is how I see Job's wife. A once prosperous, sensible wife and proud mom of ten, suddenly turned poor, hungry, grieving, heartbroken woman and now caregiver to her sick husband. Try to find strength to be a caregiver after burying ten children on the same day. What a painful thought!
Do you ever say things that you regret later on? We all have. This is our weak, emotional human nature. At the risk of discouraging and concerning those who love me; I can very much relate to Job's wife. Not that I would dare compare our situation to the tragedies that Job and his wife had to endure. She built an emotional wall and the first brick was called pain. Once pain settles in, the many questions follow: what did we do to deserve this? But Lord, Job is faithful to You, he goes to the temple, offers sacrifices for his children's sins, what gives? Why Lord? What for Lord? and the questions continue. Many times these questions are not answered; this brings on the bricks of frustration. Frustration with God, His silence, His absence; frustration with one's self, "where is my faith? why am I so weak? I feel like such a fraud, I should be walking in victory regardless, what is wrong with me?" "what could I have done to prevent this?" "Who can I blame?" Brick after brick after brick is laid, each brick another question, another emotion. The wall gets taller and taller, until we can't see God any more and His voice of comfort becomes more and more muffled. It gets harder and harder and harder to reach out to Him because of this wall. Anger sets in now. Anger against oneself for having allowed this wall to get so tall, anger at the world because no one has a solution, a miracle, an answer, anger at God because He does have the answer and the miracle but chooses not to give either at the moment. The last brick, which I consider is the brick that drove Job's wife to those dark words, bitterness.
This is a brick that I do not want to lay. If I lay that brick of bitterness the wall will be that much taller and that much more difficult to tear down. Those were bitter words that she spoke; I think Job's response was of mercy reminding her of who she really was, she wasn't a bitter foolish woman, she is the same woman who nurtured and loved ten children and a husband, the same woman who has now spent her grieving time caring for her sick husband (the Bible doesn't say how long between Job getting sick and those words were spoken by his wife, she could have been care giving for quite some time before she finally lost it). she was captured by bitterness. There is no record of God rebuking her for her words, although He does give an ear-full to Job's friends. We don't read any more about his wife until the end of the book, she gave birth to ten more children who were considered the most beautiful in the land. God's grace and mercy covered her, even in the midst of her giving in to her emotions in the midst of her pain. God understands your pain, I am really trying to believe that God understands my pain, and as I work on tearing down this wall I have built because of my pain, I am hoping I see God, truly see God for who He is. I have a long road ahead of me, but I have no other choice but to move forward; reminding myself that my journey will be easier if I just put down those bricks.
So today I speak to my fellow wall-builders, those who are sympathetic toward Job's wife, those of you who know pain in person, seen its ugly face experienced its unpleasant presence. Let's make a decision to tear down this wall that is keeping us from God and His love. I have built this wall one brick at a time and now it is time to tear it down one brick at a time. Then and only then will I be able to hear God's voice again, and cry out to Him knowing He can hear me. This means I am going back to basics. I will be going back to scripture, digging, feeding my spirit, reminding myself of the danger of bitterness and anger. Remembering the power of God's love and strength. As I do this, I will be sharing scriptures, and opening my heart. Sometimes it may not be so pretty, but this is where I am right now.
I speak to the hearts that are overwhelmed with pain...