The sorrow was beginning to turn into anger. Why did this happen? As if attempting to reason the unreasonable, she rocked back and forth sobbing. And now, as if taking her children and everything she owned was not enough, the Lord brought pain and disease to Job. Her eyes looked upon her husband while he mourned. Hardly recognizable, sitting in ash, crying out to God and suffering indescribable pain, his wife steadied herself slowly to stand. Staggering over to her once vibrant husband, tears unable to stop flowing and wondering why he isn’t angrier, she hastily cried out, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” Unable to look at his wife, Job replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
Watching her husband turn his attention back to the pain raking his body, she could not help but think of his words. In a momentary lapse of sanity, she had lost all sense of truth and focus. The pain of loosing ten children and family, the loss of her existence as a mother; remember each child’s birth, first steps and family meals was too much to bear. All gone in one instance, her heart was overwhelmed with sorrow. Job’s wife could not stop crying and the fear of loosing her husband was devastating. The words came out of her, this welling up of fear, sadness and loss rushed out of her heart in words she did not mean.
I can not imagine what Job’s wife was feeling. I can only recreate the feelings in what my mind may have transpired, but these inadequate words can by no means do justice to this woman’s pain. At times, we may focus on her harsh words and think she wanted her husband to die as if throwing her fist in the air and cursing God herself, but I do not think that is the case. Job looks at his wife and asks a question, “Why are you talking like a foolish woman?” I attempt to digest this sentence and gain insight into the character of a woman we know nothing about.
The bible reveals Job was a blameless, God fearing, sacrificial man (Job 1:1-5). So proud our Father is of Job, the Lord brings him to the attention of Lucifer. This righteous, blameless man asks his wife why she sounds like a foolish woman as if Job is surprised at her outburst. This indicates to me she is very emotional, in a state of incomprehensible understanding and saying words uncharacteristic of her. I think anyone who takes a moment to think about the situation she was in, the great duress she was feeling, the fear of loosing her husband and something worse coming unto each of them, the words do not seem so harsh.
Her words mimic our words today. “I can’t do this anymore Lord!” “I can’t handle anymore trials Jesus!” Her words are the words spoken by so many who cry out to the Lord, “Why is this happening to me?” “Have I not been faithful?” “Have I not prayed, given, loved and ministered enough?” “Why have you done this God?”
I can take a portion of Job’s wife’s struggle and apply it to my own life. Tommy and I experienced a tremendous test when the housing market crashed in late 2007. I remember feeling helpless, frustrated and alone. I was pregnant with my youngest son Matthew and I remember vividly when the For Sale sign was staked into our front yard. I held on to my bed and repeated the words of the Lord, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” “I know my redeemer lives!”
Tommy and I made several impromptu business transactions including a number of rental properties and a million dollar home we truthfully could not afford. Never could we have for seen what was about to come our way, but neither did we pray and ask the Lord for his opinion. Tommy is a realtor and an appraiser. He has been in the housing business for twelve years here in south Florida. Never had we seen anything like the collapse, foreclosures, bankruptcies and fraud during those few years we struggled. All of our money, hope and “savings” were in properties, fixer-uppers and rentals. We lost everything. We just could not afford to keep up all the properties, including our own home, when the housing market hit for no one was buying, selling and seeking appraisals.
Our situation was bleak. We foreclosed on our house, short-saled or foreclosed on other rental properties, filed bankruptcy and basically had to start over from scratch. I had never been through anything like those years in my life. The struggle to stay positive, pray and find scripture was a challenging task. Tommy and I never grew apart, nor did our marriage struggle. I never would have looked at him and said, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9). A marriage is a bond and with that bond comes the good and the bad. Just as Job responded to his wife, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Strength from only the Lord came out of Job, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 1:21).
There will be trials and tribulations you will go through. The purpose of trials is to test your faith which develops perseverance. “Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4). When abundance is full, prosperous and exceedingly grand, we do not complain as Job’s wife did not. We can give counsel to others, as I am sure Job’s wife witnessed her husband’s counsel to others who were on bad times (Job 4:3). I am sure she listened as he instructed the children and offered sacrifices for them (Job 1:5). She witnessed an honorable man who did not look at other women (Job 31:1) and was a respected, blameless man who the Lord looked on with favor (Job 1:8). She was living a wonderful life, until, calamity.
Her disparity, anger, frustration and sadness are understandable. Her loss of children, family business and seeing her husband covered in painful boils probably has just thrown her over the edge, but the circumstances do not give her the authority to command her husband to curse God so he will die. Job’s godly character shines through, reminding her that God is Almighty, he will do what he desires and we should accept the good and the bad.
The Lord blessed Job’s wife again. Notice God never rebukes her as he did Job’s three friends. Our merciful God understands the heart and can see into the recesses of the mind and innermost man that we as people can not. God knows what Job’s wife was thinking and feeling while under this duress. He never rebukes her once, but instead, blesses her. This tells me, her heart did not mean what she said for listen to what the Lord tells Job and his friends, “I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly.” (Job 42:7-8). The Scripture never reveals God’s rebuke of Job’s wife, but instead blesses her with more children, who by the way, were more beautiful than any where in the land (Job 42:15). This family lived a long, prosperous life with double portions than the former.
We may sit under great duress or think it is great duress. God desires you to communicate, pray and talk with him. The Lord will give you counsel and insight regarding your situation, but I pray you are full of strength as Job believing God gives good and bad, he gives and takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord! Amen!
Let us pray and CONFESS the Word of the Living God:
We come to you as daughters and servants of the Most High. I am overwhelmed. My heart seeks your face and your gentle healing touch. My trials seem too great for me. I know I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). I do not attempt to understand your ways for they are higher than mine, but I do ask, seek and knock for your peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:6-7).
I know these trials bring out perseverance and perseverance must complete its work so I lack no good thing (James 1:2-4). Help me to praise your name, to give you glory, to worship with hands lifted in thanksgiving and deepen my prayer life. I know this season is to grow stronger in the Lord and you will use this for your harvest and kingdom. May I be a blessing to others, encouraging and loving to those in need.
Help me to keep my eyes lifted to things upon seated at the right hand of the Father (Colossians 2:3) and proclaim I know my redeemer lives (Job 19:25). I desire to lay my requests early in the morning (Psalm 5:3) and to know you are a shield around me and lift my up head to cry out to you waiting in expectation (Psalm 3:3, Psalm 5:3). Help me proclaim this day and forever more the Lord gives and the Lord takes, Blessed Be the Name of the Lord! (Job 1:21). In the name of Jesus of Nazareth I pray, Amen.