Picture it: You’ve been happily married to your sweetie for over 30 years and are living “the life”. You have a houseful of beautiful children who’ve never given you a day of trouble in their lives. Speaking of “house”, you have a sprawling estate sitting on hundreds of acres of fertile farmland, with thousands of livestock to boot. You and your family are well-respected in your community and known as God-loving people. Life is good, right? Then one day, you lose it all: your house, land, livestock, AND your children. Gone. All that’s left is you and your spouse. And if that’s not bad enough – I mean, seriously, can it get any worse? – the love of your life is stricken with a debilitating disease causing painful sores and horrific disfiguration. Your once-beautiful life is gone. How would you react?
In your Bible, read Job 1 & 2. If ever there was someone in the Bible who has been given a hard time for their reaction in a crisis, it’s Job’s wife. This is her story. Now, you probably can’t relate to this story because I bet she and I are the only people who’ve ever let their emotions get the best of them and ended up saying something that they really don’t mean. We’re the only ones. Just us. Too many times we judge people by how we think we would handle a situation. Notice my emphasis on “think”. Oh, it’s easy to say what you would do when you’re just a spectator, but when it’s your life that’s topsy-turvy…yeah. I’ll be honest, I don’t even have to go as far as topsy-turvy: step on my pinky toe just right, and I may have to repent for what I think…or let slip out. (I’m a work in progress, people…a work in progress.) What I love about Job’s wife is that in her only recorded statement in the Bible, she was painfully transparent. We’re talking raw emotion here, folks. Think about it: so maybe losing the family’s livelihood and possessions wasn’t the best thing in the world that could’ve happened to her, but her children?? I’m a mother and I get upset whenever one of my babies breaks a bone! God only knows how I would react if even one of them died. (By the way, Lord, I don’t want to find out.) Back to Job’s wife: she loses all of her possessions and her children, right? Then on top of that, she has to see her sweetheart – probably known him since high school – go from being the strong man she’s always loved to a sore covered, grossly disfigured, and emaciated beggar who has been banished to the outskirts of town. After who knows how many days, she says in her frustration, “Curse God and die”. And there they were: words that would be associated with her forever.
We quickly forget how human we are when we witness other’s frailties. What Job’s wife had was a perfectly human response. She spoke out of her pain, her frustration, and her desperation. Thankfully, Job didn’t follow her advice, but neither did she. Ah! Did you miss that? I’m not excusing what she said, but with that being her only recorded statement, we don’t know if she asked God for forgiveness. I hope she did. If she did, she would have found out that the very God she was upset with was the same God able to forgive and surround her in His abounding love. Some people have said (and done) worse things in less stressful situations. And guess what? There’s even hope for them…me…okay, us! I know this because I’ve had to ask Him for forgiveness several times for my own reactions/responses. I still deal with hurtful situations, but now I’ve learned to talk to God about them, and with His help I will have more of the right responses. A work in progress, people…a work in progress.
May we always remember that we all need His grace.