Tag Archives: Job

A New Look at an Old Book: Job 14-16


I had breakfast with a friend this morning. We had planned to meet with another woman and make it a girls’ day out, but plans changed and we were able to dine alone. We met at a quaint little coffee shop in our hometown and placed our orders. We sat down at a table littered with puzzle pieces, and my friend was immediately entangled in the process of placing the tiny mosaics in order to reconstruct a photograph of a beautiful, blue victorian home. While she worked, we ate and talked. The conversation was pleasant. We discussed the minutae of our lives and exchanged a few laughs.

Then I did it.

I had wanted to know for awhile, but I never felt the time was right to ask. But today, with just the two of us, and she occupied with a task for her hands, I asked her about Chelsea.

Chelsea

Chelsea is her beautiful, perpetually-just-shy-of-sixteen-years-old daughter. During a routine trip to a neighboring city, my friend and two of her three children were involved in a motor vehicle accident, and Chelsea was tragically killed. As I listened to the painful recounting of that fateful day three years ago, I was struck silent. I soaked in the scenery and the emotions as Bev carefully and tearfully walked me through her memories of that day. After sharing, she pondered aloud the question that all of us have asked at one point or another – “Why would God take HER when there are so many bad people in the world?”

In this passage of scripture, Job is asking the same thing. Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people? Why is there pain and suffering for believers? Why is it that tragedy strikes? I’ve been contemplative since our meeting this morning. My friend is quite a happy person in light of her unbelievably difficult reality. I’m not sure I could function, much less be productive, positive and pleasant.  I am not a parent, but I am a doting aunt and just the thought of losing one of my neices or nephews brings me to a very dark place.

As I thought about today’s reading, I marvelled at the tenacity of Job, but I am also moved by the life of this woman, my friend, who shared her heart with me today. As I sit here, I am listening to the song “Breath of Heaven” and I am reminded of another loss.  In the blockbuster movie, The Passion of the Christ, the scene that breaks my heart most, is the point where Mary watches her son walking down the road, heavy with the cross of his crucifixion on his shoulders. As he passes, virtually unrecognizable, he falls and she remembers Jesus as a happy, vibrant toddler running, laughing and falling as a child.  She didn’t see the Savior of the human race – she saw her baby, and He was hurting – and she was powerless.

That’s how my friend felt – that’s how Job felt – and that’s how God must have felt when He watched His son suffer and die.  When I read these scriptures, I am made sad at the pain that people have to suffer.  At the same time, I am selfishly thankful that I have not had to endure that type of pain.  I am also aware that we are not the only ones who suffer.  God himself suffered.

I don’t know why God lets bad things happen to good people, but I find comfort in the knowledge that He knows what that kind of loss feels like.  I find grace in the words of my friend, who while hurting can still bless God and look to Him as her source of strength and hope.  I am comforted in knowing that the tears we weep for the losses we endure on this side of the veil are not shed alone.  God himself weeps with us.  He is our Champion and Friend.  He is just as sad about our suffering as we are, maybe moreso.

Our breakfast turned into lunch.  We shared and cried together.  I was able to see a part of my friend’s heart that was broken and vulnerable, and in sharing about her loss – we gained.  We added to our friendship.  We increased the memory of a very special girl whose life positively impacted more than 1,000 people.  We grew in understanding of the depths of love.

Maybe that’s the real lesson here.  Maybe the reason we experience loss is to gain. . .

  • understanding
  • empathy
  • patience
  • love

Thank you for sharing your life with me.  I have been blessed.

A New Look at an Old Book: Job 1-13


Or How NOT to be a Friend

The story of Job is a very familiar one. We are all well acquainted with the suffering and misery that Job endured at the hands of Satan. We all know of the incredible losses he sustained, and we know how the story ends. But as I have read these scriptures again over the last several days, I am moved not by the acts of Job, but by those of his three companions.

I suppose it has much to do with where I am in my life right now. A friend just lost her father after a long bout with a sustained illness. Another friend is going through a very difficult break-up and feelings of loneliness that overwhelm him. Yet another friend is going through a difficult situation and I have only compounded things with my own selfish demands. So right now, the thing I needed most was to hear how to be a good friend.

Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar are good guys. They hear about Job’s tragedy, and they do not hesitate to drop everything in their lives to rush to be at his side. They give no thought to personal cost, distance to travel, or time away from their everyday lives. Upon first glance, these three men appear to be great friends to Job. They make their way to him, and are so moved by his emotional plight that they, too are compelled to mourn. They sit with him for seven days, commiserating, consoling and comforting Job – all without saying a word! What great friends! The end.

Nope. Not the end.

They couldn’t leave well enough alone. They HAD to start talking. They just HAD to throw in their two shekel’s worth of advice for poor, suffering Job. They HAD to try to FIX things!

What is it about us that makes us want to fix stuff? Even if we don’t have all the information, we will try to correct things in almost any given situation. I find myself doing it all the time. Something isn’t working right, “Ooh, let me see. I bet I can get it to work.” Doesn’t matter that I have very little mechanical ability! Why should that little tidbit of truth stop me? Someone tells me about some trouble in their life, “Oooh, I know JUST what you should do! First…this, then that and bang – all fixed!” Nevermind I probably have no clue – Why should that stop me?

I can empathize with Job. He’s not thinking clearly at the moment. He’s hurting. He’s mad. He’s clearly, and justifably upset. His response? VENT! He’s been in a pressure cooker for weeks! His emotions, his thoughts, his physical body have been under intense strain, and he needs to let off some steam! It happens to all of us. When we need to spout off, the LAST thing we need is someone trying to rationalize or FIX things! We just want you to listen. Shut up and just listen. You don’t have to agree. You can even think we’re wrong, but for now – Just be quiet. Once the explosion subsides, clarity returns and right thinking follows. Usually followed by the question, “What do you think?” NOW, you can interject. But tread cautiously, the pot’s still HOT!

Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar started out so well. They ARE great friends. But like most of us, they let their own discomfort cloud their judgement. They gave into their own needs instead of being sensitive to the needs of Job. What I learned through this reading is that I am just like them. Sadly. But I don’t want to be. I want to be the friend that thinks of the other person’s feelings first. I want to be the friend who is willing to sacrifice my own comfort for the comfort of another. I want to be a friend who knows when to be quiet. Ouch! That one hurt.

I’m thankful for this lesson. I’m thankful for the opportunity to see outside my own self, if even for a brief moment. And I’m thankful for this example in scripture of how to REALLY be a friend.