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Mr. and Mrs. Job

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Have you ever pondered Job’s wife, or even been annoyed at her mocking him when he was at his lowest? Here’s what Mrs. Job said: “Are you still trying to be godly when God has done all this to you? Curse him and die” (Job 2:9).

Job had just lost all his earthly possessions, including his beloved children and servants. He now lost his dignity through his wife’s thoughtless words. We are told in Job 1 that he was a righteous, blameless, God-fearing man. But how would he react to the heart-wrenching devastation of his shattered world? In Job’s hour of despair, while he scraped his boils with shards of pottery, his wife’s angry words crushed him. What would he say?

Before answering that question, let’s consider Job’s wife, the mother of his children — also broken and grieving. Many of us can relate to hearing unkind words that spew from the mouths of others in times of trauma. We, too, can speak stinging words we regret aiming at others.

Of course, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to proclaim God as protector or as good and merciful where a devoted father and mother are robbed of their family. The afflicted, understandably, are void of comprehending God’s goodness in their present stress.

However, let’s take a lesson from Job: He did not react to his wife’s accusation; he responded! “You talk like some heathen woman. What? Shall we receive only pleasant things from the hand of God and never anything unpleasant?” (v. 10).

To Father God’s ears, Job’s words must have been precisely what He expected from His faithful servant. His wife’s harsh words were also expected, but God understood the depths of her pain — and forgave her. We say ugly things in the heat of the moment, but God sees and hears the words written on our hearts.

Both this father and mother were deeply grieved at losing everything. One reacted, the other responded. Yet the love and mercy of God were present and pulsating regardless of the flaws of one or the unswerving praise of the other.

Tears and trials

King Solomon would have considered Job’s circumstances among those he writes about in Ecclesiastes 4: “Next I observed all the oppression and sadness throughout the earth — the tears of the oppressed, and no one helping them, while on the side of their oppressors were powerful allies” (v. 1).

Job’s situation was one of tens of thousands that occur daily. Like many of us, Solomon, although wise, was confounded about many of them. He writes, “‘As it happens to the fool, it also happens to me, and why was I then more wise?’ Then I said in my heart, ‘This also is vanity’” (2:15, NKJV).

So many matters in question contradict common sense. In the end, however, Solomon summarizes matters that are in our control: “fear God and obey his commandments, for this is the entire duty of man” (12:13). God’s precepts are not cumbersome or unreasonable but are meant for our benefit.

Jesus also warned us in John 16:33 that Christ’s followers would experience tribulation. Our sacred duty is not to react negatively, succumbing to the world’s woes. Praise, thanksgiving, gratefulness, and embracing God’s precepts are ways to respond, just as Job did (Job 1:20, 21). We can rest in the truth that “God will judge us for everything we do, including every hidden thing, good or bad” (Ecclesiastes 12:14).

Step back, draw near

Until that day, the Lord gives us every opportunity to be transformed by renewing our minds so we can respond in a godly way. As the bride of Christ, we do this by stepping away from the things of the world and drawing near to the things of God. This is especially true if we are in the depths of mourning a significant loss or have been unnecessarily burdened by world events.

Here’s a simple, practical way to respond to our life problems and combat the tendency toward depression and isolation, leading to faulty thinking: praise! We can start with Psalm 34.

I will praise the Lord no matter what happens. I will constantly speak of his glories and grace. I will boast of all his kindness to me. Let all who are discouraged take heart. Let us praise the Lord together and exalt his name (vv. 1-3, emphasis added).

Our countenance will change as we continue to praise the Lord for His goodness to us. As we do this, we can recall God’s faithfulness at other times, thus increasing our praise and faith.

Parental care

Some truths about God can help us respond rather than react to challenges in our families. As our Father, He does not react to our shortcomings. He is not surprised when we mess up but is always ready to respond by forgiving our earnest repentance. He knows when we are in need and provides for us. He knows that we will often be unfaithful while He remains faithful. Even when earthly events are out of order and desperately wrong, He lovingly shares His goodness and mercy.

God also responds to us with the tender care of a mother. When we fall, He binds up our wounds. When we hurt, He cries too. When we go astray, He leads His little lamb back home.

In practicing intentional spiritual growth, we can endure afflictions when they come our way. Our best witness is responding in God’s complete, genuine nature. We are transformed only by following God’s example.

Our friend, Job, knew these things about God because he walked closely and humbly with Him. He also seemed to perceive quickly that his wife’s words were the torment of Satan. Job responded, speaking the truth.

Thanks to God’s mercies, the end-game plan for Mr. and Mrs. Job was fulfilled: “So the Lord blessed Job at the end of his life more than at the beginning. . . . Job lived 140 years after that, living to see his grandchildren and great-grandchildren too . . .” (42:12, 16).

May we follow Job’s example when life becomes chaotic or when trouble pounds on our front door. A better day is coming!

Kathleen Barrett has published numerous news and feature articles in community publications and currently writes a quarterly column in Voice of Truth magazine. She co-authored a pictorial about Israel and has contributed poetry and testimonial in three anthologies, most recently in Embrace the Journey — Your Path to Spiritual Growth. She has also written two children’s books. Kathleen lives in Port Saint Lucie, FL. Visit her website: https://kathybarrettwrites.com/.

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