One of the greatest challenges we experience in life that puts the final nail in the coffin for many, is the trauma we go through when we think about other peoples’ opinion more so “what will people say when they hear about a particular story or problem that we have”. This breeds more pressure than the problem or challenge itself. We seem to be faced with an uphill task when the opinions of people matter to us. For one second, we seem very fine and quite comfortable in our challenges but on the other hand we feel the very worst when people start to know or talk about our said “problems” or “challenges”.
Job had been through the worst (according to any human standard or institution), his wife had given him the worst of advice, and Satan had been dismissed. The Good Book in fact confirmed “in all of these (the pain, trial and persecution), Job did not curse God or sin with his lips”. He never said anything against God. After sometime, we learnt that Job started to say so many things and inadvertently, something must have informed it. So what did he say?
Job broke the silence; he spoke up and cursed his fate: “Obliterate the day I was born. Blank out the night I was conceived! Let it be a black hole in space. May God above forget it ever happened. Erase it from the books! May the day of my birth be buried in deep darkness, shrouded by the fog, swallowed by the night. And the night of my conception—the devil take it!
Rip the date off the calendar, delete it from the almanac. Oh, turn that night into pure nothingness— no sounds of pleasure from that night, ever! May those who are good at cursing curse that day. Unleash the sea beast, Leviathan, on it. May its morning stars turn to black cinders, waiting for a daylight that never comes, never once seeing the first light of dawn.
Because it released me from my mother’s womb into a life with so much trouble. Why didn’t I die at birth, my first breath out of the womb my last? Why were there arms to rock me, and breasts for me to feed from? I could be resting in peace right now, asleep forever, feeling no pain, in the company of kings and statesmen in their royal ruins, or with princes resplendent in their gold and silver tombs.
Why wasn’t I still-born and buried with all the babies who never saw light, where the wicked no longer trouble anyone and bone-weary people get a long deserved rest? Prisoners sleep undisturbed, never again to wake up to the bark of the guards. The small and the great are equals in that place, and slaves are free from their masters”.
“Why does God bother giving light to the miserable, why bother keeping bitter people alive, those who want in the worst way to die and can’t, those who can’t imagine anything better than death, who count the day of their death and burial as the happiest day of their life? What’s the point of life when it doesn’t make sense, when God blocks all the roads to meaning? Instead of bread I get groans for my supper, then leave the table and vomit my anguish. The worst of my fears has come true, what I’ve dreaded most has happened. My repose is shattered, my peace destroyed”.
He ended with this: “No rest for me, ever—death has invaded life.” This is more like Job giving up under intense pressure of his many diverse and accrued sorrows. He vented out his feelings with bitter accents as described above. In other words, he became capricious all of a sudden and he started to talk as described above.
Job never said all these things when the challenge reached its pinnacle and climax, neither did he lament but all he said above were informed by the presence of his three friends. His three friends went to meet him when they heard about his ordeal; possibly with very good and genuine intentions. As it was said of them that they all travelled from their countries to meet their friend, Job, so that they could comfort him.
When his friends saw him, they couldn’t recognize him for he was already disfigured and changed into something else. His situation had gone from bad to worse. Immediately they cried out in lament, ripped their robes and dumped dirt on their heads as a sign of grief. Not only did they dump dirt on their heads, they sat on the ground with Job for seven days and seven nights without saying a word. They saw how rotten Job felt and how severely he had suffered. Oh, these are good friends, some would say. Yes to the natural mind but from God’s perspective, it could be different.
This part of the story reminds me of when I was a little boy growing up. The moment I got spanked by my teacher or an elderly person (after I had been naughty), I sometimes didn’t feel the pain so much and sometimes might not even cry but the moment someone tried to show me some sympathy, the tears came down in volumes. Could this be the case with Job?
The fact that Job broke down and said all sorts to the day he was born, cursing the one who brought him into planet earth, tells me that the presence of his friends was not a good one. I am able to say so because none of them knew what and why Job was going through; none of them thought about the fact that it could be God doing His work in the life of Job. They didn’t know how it all started and instead of inquire; they felt they had a solution to his problem.
They felt ripping their robes and putting dirt on their heads (as though Job had sinned against God) and by doing one of two things, his situation would change. They were set in a particular way of how they felt things worked out. They would have thought, because of the weight of pain that something had gone wrong somewhere with Job; he must have committed a grievous sin against God. They were wrong! They didn’t know that God was WORKING in Job’s life both to get him to WILL and also to DO of His good pleasure.
Job’s three associates here presents a portrait of someone who proved out rightly that they understood little or nothing about the sovereignty or character of God in His objectives as He works through Job and presently His children – the Saints.
It is in the WORKINGS of God in our lives that causes us in our WILL to choose Him; not only do we choose Him, it also creates the ability to do that which God expects us to do according to His WILL and not in the opinions of people, groups or institutions.