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. Steph C says:

    God is not afraid of our grief. My grief and sorrow does not deny His existence or power. It is an honest lament of being broken people in a broken world. Just as I should not be ashamed to show grief, neither should I avoid those who are grieving. When I am sad I’m not looking for a theological discourse. I’m looking for someone to put an arm around my shoulders and say “I love you. God loves you. He sees your grief and He cares”. Infertility is my grief right now. 7 years. Every month I try not to hope. But then I’m late. And a little hope blooms. And then quickly fades. And I try so hard to put on a smile and move on with life. But it’s just so hard.

  2. Corbin Clyde says:

    What about the person like me who seems to never be able to get it together? Job was not guilty.. but I . Making bad choices and suffering I have caused myself all the while knowing that there is only one God and that he died for my sins. I’m at my end in the sense that I feel hopeless.. like it’s me AGAIN God..

    1. Sara Miller says:

      I feel the same way. All we can do is remember that he never gives up on us, his children. We must keeping believing in Him the one true God and his love for us.

  3. Amber Herrick says:

    This radiates within my soul. I am so guilty of staying silence to not cry out. When all God asks is to hear from
    His child

  4. Monse says:

    I’ve been going through a heartbreak for the past six months now and I get discourage so easily when memories creep in my mind which has led to a rollercoaster ride with God. I get disappointed that the heartbreak isn’t gone and I wondered if God gets tired of me sharing the same emotions with Him. We’re so used to instant healing but I just thought I should be over it now. I know that I should trust God in his timing but its not easy. This chapter really spoke to me that he will remain faithful to us and He does not dislike us for sharing our tears with Him. Thank you for this word.

  5. Helena Rose says:

    THIS IS SO GOOD. I’ve never heard this perspective on Job 3! So good!

  6. Mary G says:

    The struggle is real. I’m trying to learn not to hide the pain but instead go through the pain and trust God in the process. Sharing my hurts with others I trust is a next step. That and discerning His will through some of the more difficult times. Glad for this lesson today.

  7. Courtney Foster says:

    My step-Dad passed a year ago this month. My family and I are still in such a difficult place. The hardest part has been watching my mom mask her pain behind a brave face, but things are really falling apart. I feel so helpless in so much her struggles as I watch and can’t offer much actual help. It’s such a hard place to be in. This Job study has come at just the right time. Praise be to God for His Word in this time.

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