Day 2

Job’s Lament

from the Job reading plan

Job 3:1-26, Philippians 3:7–11, 2 Timothy 2:8–13

BY Lisa Harper

I once had a surgeon tell me I wasn’t a very good patient because I tried to “gut it out,” instead of being honest about the pain I was experiencing. Apparently, it’s hard on a healer when a patient masks their symptoms; making a diagnosis can become a bit like trying to shoot at a moving target.

My doctor believed my stubborn refusal to admit pain reflected my lack of trust in his competence as a physician. In Job chapter three, we see that Job is honest about his own pain, which is a clear indicator that he truly wants to be healed and trusts in the competence of the Great Physician. It would take me a long time to learn that instead of exacerbating a painful experience, honest tears and the acknowledgment of pain can actually serve as a soothing pressure relief valve.

By contrast, between the amped-up sensation of reality television, the shrieking discord of current political affairs, and the twenty-four/seven barrage of social media that has saturated our culture, it’s entirely possible for real trauma and suffering to go unnoticed and untended. We rush to triage emotional hangnails but completely ignore the people around us who are bleeding out. Silence doesn’t always indicate bravery, but it is a pretty good indicator that we might not notice when someone is truly suffering.

Job’s outburst is a healthy reminder that our Redeemer doesn’t rank our emotions on a scale from good to bad, allowing only “good” emotions like joy and peace while barring “bad” emotions like grief and disappointment. We do not have to censor ourselves before the God who knows our hearts better than we do. Scripture doesn’t instruct us to smile on the outside while we die on the inside—just the opposite, in fact (see 1 Samuel 1). Frankly, I believe one of the biggest fallacies perpetrated in communities of faith is that the closer we get to Jesus, the more we need to keep a lid on it. Stoicism is not a spiritual gift, y’all!

We need to understand there’s a colossal difference between disagreeing with God and denying His existence altogether. Job cursed the day he was born and expressed confusion, frustration, and even anger, at God over allowing tragedy to befall him—but he did not reject God. In fact, the tormented exasperation Job hurls toward God proves that he is anything but an atheist! He knows God holds all things together.

Faith powered by God can stretch us far beyond our own capacity to endure. Still, it’s not our anguish that distances us from God; it’s our apathy. The main takeaway from Job chapter three: we can and should continue to bring all of who we are—including our anger, confusion, and disappointment—before God. We can trust Him with every piece of our hearts.


Post Comments (109)

109 thoughts on "Job’s Lament"

  1. Katie Schirmer says:

    It’s comforting to know that we can talk to God openly and honestly. We don’t have to hold back. Sometimes I feel that there is pressure to be happy all the time as a Christian.

  2. Abz Vicar says:

    Lord I do not need to “censor” my emotions or even agree with you..however I cannot deny your existence and even if I did, you cannot deny Yourself…help me to love you more, just the way you are even when I do not understand. ‘Oh for grace to trust thee more”

  3. Sharayah LeLeux says:

    Man. I definitely need to hear that. Too often I take it all upon myself. And I don’t need to do that. God tells us to cast our cares about Him and He doesn’t specify which cares to throw upon Him. We cast them all upon Him because He cares for us. ❤️

  4. Jayne G says:

    This study has come at the perfect time for me. I have been struggling in my faith since I lost my son at 19 weeks just before Christmas. I am angry; at the world and; yes, even at God.
    I am 14weeks on and very aware that the world (and my family) thinks I have moved on as I have been silent about my pain; at least with the world. Like Job I have also cried out to the Lord and ranted at Him. Like Job I have yearned for the relief that death would bring.

    I am struck in today’s study by the thought that my refusal to openly admit my pain may indicate a lack of faith in the healer and that by stubbornly saying “I’m fine” and not admitting my pain I am allowing it to go unnoticed and perhaps even for it to fester.
    I am also reminded that by not acknowledging my pain to others I am not allowing them to help me, which maybe denying a blessing to them; I know when j have helped others I have been blessed- am I selfish to block others from similar blessing just because I am to proud or scared to admit how broken I truly am?!

  5. Monica Davis says:

    “Stoicism is nota spiritual gift” love that!

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