March 3, 2023

Continuing the Book of Job

Our reading continued today. Chapters four through six. And I continue to feel foolish as Job's expressions of anguish continue to mirror my own throughout my life, yet mine were so much without cause.

Job 6:8 (NIV) "Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for,

Job 6:9 (NIV) that God would be willing to crush me, to let loose his hand and cut off my life!

The number of times I'd called upon God to bring me death, to simply take me from this earth are without count. Whenever I felt hopelessness or despair, I would ask God to take my life. That there was no further reason for me to live. I had no purpose. I was no good to anyone. I inevitably drove anyone that cared about me away. Friends would always drift away from me and never speak to me again. Family would turn from me. Even my own daughter hates me and wishes nothing to do with me. Much like Job, I felt worthless, and that the world and the people in it would simply be better were I gone.

Job 6:11 (NIV) "What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient?

Unlike Job, however, I didn't have as much a reason. As I said yesterday, compared to what he lost, I was doing quite well, all things considered. But I thought more like Job's friends. Particularly Eliphaz, the first of his friends to speak in Chapter Four.

Job 4:8 (NIV) As I have observed, those who plow evil and those who sow trouble reap it.

Eliphaz felt that Job had sinned in some way and that he was being punished by God. He felt that what Job needed to do was call upon God and seek His Grace and Mercy.

Job 4:5 (NIV) But now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged; it strikes you, and you are dismayed.

In an almost mocking manner, he points out that Job has done so much to help others, and now he cannot help himself. He was rather harsh with his criticisms and really lacked any compassion. He considered suffering to be punitive rather than educational. Which is how I had looked at suffering nearly all my life. I spent almost all my life thinking I was being punished for something. That almost everything I did was a sin of some kind. For many years, it numbed me. I closed myself off from anyone and anything. Everyone I knew hated me, why wouldn't God?

But Job did not sin with his lips, and he asks his friend Eliphaz for proof that he had. After all, did he not have cause to grieve? Did he not have cause to mourn?

Job 6:24 (NIV) "Teach me, and I will be quiet; show me where I have been wrong.

It isn't a sin to mourn or grieve, or to feel hopelessness or despair, especially in the face of overwhelming suffering and pain that Job was experiencing, not to mention the physical discomfort and intense agony of the ailments that satan had plagued him with. But we must have cause, right? We should not wallow in misery or self pity without cause. Then we learn nothing. Then we see pain as simply a punishment. We don't and can't understand how that suffering brings us closer to God, and to greater knowledge of his Grace and Eternal Kingdom.

The rewards we stand to gain in Christ far outweigh any earthly reward we might find here. Allowing myself to be consumed by darkness and depression, particularly without any just cause, only led me down the wide path to destruction. I was closed off, not only from other people, but from God, and from Christ. And all it brought me was more suffering and despair.

My prayer today is to ask further forgiveness from You, Lord. I know that I continue to fail, on an almost daily basis, but I yet stand to gain eternity with You only through Your Grace, Patience, and the Christ, the gift You've given all mankind. I should not have looked at my life as a curse. As a waste. For I was the one wasting it. I was the one failing, not You, Lord. I thank You for the clarity You've granted me. I seek the narrow path, Lord. I seek Your Kingdom. I seek to grow in You. I pray for the strength to remain on this path, and follow it to the end. AMEN.

Written by Raven638

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