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 (126)

126 thoughts on "Job’s Lament"

  1. Susan says:

    Lori Wat, I have immense empathy for you. I know this disease. My mother has that disease – it affects the muscles, and it is terminal, as in there is no cure. She has had it for many years and it is managed by treatment. Here’s the thing, though: She is in her late 70’s, goes on cruises, visits other countries, attends Bible studies, makes blankets for babies in the hospital, sings in the choir, continues with her craft – 1/4 scale miniatures – and travels to visit her grand and great grand children. I say all these things because, yes, it is serious, it is rare, it is scary, but my mom hasn’t let it stop her and she laughs as much, often more, than she ever has. Her pain is sometimes excruciating but she continually finds her strength in God. She is an inspiration. Maybe she can be an inspiration to you, too and find encouragement through her.

    1. Lori Wat says:

      Thank you for this encouragement. ❤️

  2. Charmaine Wee says:

    This study brought tears to my eyes. I’m struggling to recover from a painful relationship that has just ended, and I’m tempted to run away from God in the process of healing. So many wrongs I’ve done against God that I’m ashamed about and can’t find courage to face. I know God loves me wholely and this spoke to me on a personal level. Thanks.

    1. Cassie Hanson says:

      I encourage you to run toward a relationship with Jesus. He doesn’t care what you’ve done, all he cares about is the now and seeing you his beloved daughter coming home. Invest in a relationship with Him I promise he is eagerly waiting to forgive you and cover you with grace.

      1. Sara Miller says:

        Thank you for this ❤️
        This spoke to me and what I’m feeling right now.

  3. Danielle Merriweather says:

    God wants to hear from us when things are going well and when things are not going so well.

    1. Danielle Merriweather says:

      Job’s cry wasn’t a complaint, but a crying out because of what he was going through. I think we have to know the difference between the two.

  4. Larissa M. says:

    I really needed this reminder today. The permission and reminder that God created us and gave us this breadth of emotion. He want us to bringing all our emotions to him. The ugly crying, the deep pain, the joy, and happiness. Bring it all to him.

    And I must say “Stoicism isn’t a spiritual gift y’all” this is such a simple truth, but huge truth I think we as the church need to embrace and show the world. We need to show our emotions to God and others. There can be healing and freedom in having others hold your hand and walk beside you in your struggles. Showing others that yes this ugly hard part of life is here but I got through it because of my great God who’s love for me never fails.

  5. Millen Smith says:

    I think this is so beautiful and so important! Job is a great example of who we should be. The same way God wants us to bring our problems to Him, he wants us to bring our negative emotions to Him too. He doesn’t expect us to no longer be human when we choose to follow Him. He doesn’t want that. He wants to be our Father, but also our friend. If we can cry out to our earthly friends in anger and not hate them, then the same can be said for our relationship with Christ. This has opened my eyes to the fact that I shouldn’t be shy or afraid when I ‘moan’ to God about my problem, its just a matter of still acknowledging that God is still good and will continue to be good.
    Let us cry out in anguish, but let us remember to not reject God in those moments too. Sadly, rejecting ‘someone’ that we can’t see with the naked eye is too easy… :(

  6. Beth Hinson says:

    Sometimes I feel as though I have to reserve my complaints or struggles of the day for a friend or my mom, only giving God the praises and good news. Lord help me learn to come to you always and look to you for comfort or peace!

    1. Cassie Hanson says:


  7. Janis Duchnicki says:

    I often feel shameful when I see myself as a victim. It feels worse because I feel if I dont “get over it”, i am not faithful enough in my walk to trust that its all God.

  8. Erin Guiltner says:

    Praying for those who are actively suffering tonight. As I read Job’s words, I could identify. It’s been 10 years now, but I remember feeling that type of grief in the early days after my son died. I have to confess it makes me nervous to do a study of Job, I think, “Oh no. What is God preparing me for?” It’s so hard to trust fully once you have suffered such a deep loss. I am always too aware that sometimes the horrible unimaginable things do happen. I am afraid of suffering again, and yet, what can I do but trust Him?

    1. Erin Raffray says:

      Oh man I feel the same .. as I read this I worry also . It’s been 12 years since two of our kids died, I still struggle with grief that comes out of no where. I am leaning on the knowledge that this study of Job is to strengthen me and bring me hope not prepare me for more grief.

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