Saturday, February 21, 2009

I Wish My Birthday Would Die

You gotta hand it to Job: the dude knew how to mourn. In Job 3, he cursed the day of his birth, wishing it would be banished from hanging out with all the other days. And the day his parents broke the news to the entire patriarchal world that they were expecting? He would have liked to shoot that day out of the sky as well.

Now, I don't know who exactly was prepared to raise Leviathan, but apparently they were in the business of day-cursing. I don't mean to mock Job's sorrow, I'm just pointing out that it was poetically extreme. When you get to the point where you wish you were miscarried, you've entered a bad place emotionally. Job was there.

Contrary to Satan's speculation that Job would trade anything to be alive, the fact that he wasn't dead was now Job's biggest complaint. Back in chapter 1 (v. 10) Satan said God's hedge around Job was the reason for his love for God--but Job complained (v. 23) about this very protection now that he had lost his loved ones, his possessions, and his health. He wanted the protection lifted. He wanted to die. He was longing for the peace of the grave. But he still wasn't prepared to curse God to effect his own death.

Who else has said with him, "I am not at ease, nor am I quiet, and I am not at rest, but turmoil comes" (v. 26)? A lot of honest people have. Everybody has some pain, but for most people, it has to get really bad before they let it show. As B.B. King said, "The blues was like that problem child you may have had in the family. You was ashamed to let anybody see him, but you loved him. You just didn't know how other people would take it."

I haven't felt pain like Job has. But what I do feel, I prefer to keep hidden. I usually try to keep anything "wrong" hidden from as many people as possible. Because the conclusion Job's friends make later ultimately is the one I think everybody is going to make about me: if there is something wrong in your life, it's probably your own fault. . . idiot. No one ever tells you you're an idiot or a loser when bad things happen to you . . . but you can feel the label adhering to your forehead, can't you? Ugh. That's why I keep things quiet.

I don't know what the conclusion is here. I mean, bad stuff happens. Job had no idea why he was suffering, he just wanted it to end. And I guess that's what is honorable . . . he didn't blame. He didn't try to reason it out. He just knew it was awful, expressed how awful it was, and left it at that. Hmm . . . this is the part of Job where I tend to lose interest. I'm going to try to stay open to what it says, but I'm not going to force any conclusions. For now, I'll say this:

God is good. Life is . . . iffy.

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