Thursday, September 19, 2013

No One Likes a Whiner

[See the first post in this series about Job.]

So Job had it all pretty good. Lots of land. Lots of herd animals. A good group of children. He was the greatest man in the land of Uz, an area east of the Jordan. About all that maybe wasn't perfect in his life was his wife; though perhaps she just reacted poorly to all that happened, and had been pretty good before then.

After the loss of his fortune and family, his wife said to "curse God and die." Job instead said he was willing to accept good and bad from God. He takes a time of mourning. For seven days he sits silently in sackcloth and ashes. Three friends join him. At the end of those seven days, it is approximately 14 days after the calamities started hitting. A mere 14 days.

What are the first words out of Job's mouth? "May the day of my birth perish, and the night it is said, "A boy is born!'"

Not a very encouraging start. But that's not the end of it. He goes on.
That day—may it turn to darkness;
may God above not care about it'
may no light shine upon it.
May darkness and deep shadow claim it once more;
may a cloud settle over it;
may blackness overwhelm its light.
Why did I not perish at birth,
and die as I came from the womb?
For sighing comes to me instead of food;
my groans pour out like water.
What I feared has come upon me;
what I dreaded has happened to me.
I have no peace, no quietness;
I have no rest, but only turmoil. What is Job doing? He's essentially whining, and nobody likes a whiner. People avoid whiners, and will leave them to whine in their loneliness.

Of course, I think we can cut Job some slack. None of us have gone through what he has. And remember it's only been 14 days. He's still in mourning for the loss of his children. He's still smarting from his wife's turning against God—and against him. His body is covered with sores. Physically he probably needed the seven days of contemplation to just get somewhat used to the pain.

Still, who likes a whiner? His friends are about to deal with his whining, which we'll see in the next post.

I certainly don't dislike Job. He's telling us how he feels about the situation. His calamities are so great that he wished he'd never been born. I can't fully empathize with his situation, but I can appreciate it and understand why he says what he does. So far he has not sinned. He hasn't blamed God. He hasn't blamed anyone. He has merely expressed how low he is in his spirit.

What is that platitude? When things get tough, the tough get going. Or sometimes you just have to demonstrate tough love to someone. His friends are about to do that. As we'll see in the next post.

1 comment:

vero said...

Whiner. Sometimes whining is the first impulse. Especially when you feel you have done all the right things and calamity falls upon you like a storm, as in Job's case.

I enjoyed this post.