It’s not what he says but what he does not say – Tuesday 26th Week in ordinary time – Job3:1-3,11-17,20-23

It’s not what he says but what he does not say – Tuesday 26th Week in ordinary time – Job3:1-3,11-17,20-23

We see a very different Job in Chapter three. While Job does not curse God for what could only be called a decimation of his life. Job is no longer uttering pious words of praise as he did in chapter one and does not hesitate to express his anguish in the strongest terms. He laments his miserable existence and wishes he was never born. It is an odd lament uttered almost entirely in a series of questions.

Let us put this text in context. Twice the adversary or ‘the satan’ (remember we are not taking about the devil but an adversary in heaven) has alleged that Job’s loyalty to God was based on that fact that God had fenced Job with blessings. While the adversary was permitted to take away everything precious around Job, he was forbidden from touching his person. This was a riches to rags scenario but one that was also filled with personal grief. Not only did Job lose every one of his sheep, oxen, camels and servants, the very dwelling in which his ten children lived in fell on them, killing them instantly.

Satan had lost his wager; he had failed to get Job to curse God. So satan changed his game plan and accused God of an unfair wager; as long as the man himself continued to enjoy God’s protection his loyalties would still be with God. So, what if God took away a ‘few trinkets’ from Job’s life? Lift the protective shield around Job and let the person of Job be open to attack and see how he would sing a different song against the God he worshipped. And God permitted even that; for God, it seems, was confident with his “blameless and upright servant.

This time Job was stricken with loathsome sores. Job cracked under pressure but he did not crumble under its weight. It’s not what he said that should occupy us in chapter three but what he did not say; he did not curse God! He was silent for seven days, numbed as any father would be at the loss of ten children in one blow.

So far, the book spoke of what afflicted him externally, now we get a peek into his mind and his soul. As he spoke in his deep distress, he cursed the day of his birth but not once did he even come close to cursing God as Satan thought he would. This round too, belonged to God.

Yet the anguish he finds himself pushed him to wish that he was never born. Remember that this part of the book is no longer prose but poetry and poetic license are accompanied by poetic passion. At times, the words sound harsh and desperate, even to the point of questioning the very wisdom of God and even calling God his enemy but the heart of Job never abandons his faith in God even though its poetic form may sound all wrong.

In poetic form, the anguish of Job captures the heart of a tortured and innocent soul. His grief and suffering so hard to bear, he not only curses the day he was born but cursed the night he was conceived and then wished that death would strike him into the grave. These repetitive thoughts and words of Job unnerve us; they are unchristian and uncharitable to the God who gave us life and yet it would be a mistake to label a grieving fathers anguished words as sinful. This is no stoic man of God but a breathing living man who loved God and struggled with the plan of God. This perhaps was an emotional melt down but not apostasy at all.

I’m sure there are many that can relate to Job’s lamentation. I have found myself in situations where i have hit rock bottom and really thought there was no way out. But God in His mercy and grace always shows up just before it is too late. He has never left me stranded and I am sure it’s the same with you.

If you are going through one challenge or the other, remember God’s promise to never leave us nor forsake us. He is always present to help us. Even though in the trial it might seem as if He has forsaken you, the truth is He can and will never abandon us. Keep trusting and believing Him. Hold on to the promises He has given you.

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